Volume 93, Issue 14

Wednesday, September 22, 1999


Jocks can't opt out

Report on abuse unveiled

Funding to target women's health

Sex study shows Canadian youth get more nookie

U of T backs out of business deal

India-Pakistan conflict raises concern

For student needs, bet on the net

Tan and Reform MP discuss CASA campaign


bass ackwards

Caught on campus

U of T backs out of business deal

By John Intini
Gazette Staff

University of Toronto administrators reneged on a business deal last week, instead opting to use the land for new residences.

Due to the expected increase in enrollment as a result of the double cohort in 2003, U of T opted out of a business deal which would have generated upwards of $32 million in revenue, said Michael Finlayson, VP-administration and human resources at U of T. Instead, the school has chosen to use the land located on their downtown campus for new residences.

"We decided it was a better idea to use the university site for university purposes," he said. "We already had a problem this year with housing and it just seemed to make sense to make this move."

At a governing council meeting last week, a decision was made to end the two year business arrangement with a firm which planned to build either a luxury hotel or condominiums on the Bloor Street West strip. Administration was also planning to build a new stadium to replace Varsity Stadium, which included an underground arena with help from the increased revenue, Finlayson said.

He added U of T will face between $400,000 and $500,000 in penalty fees, but said the cost was a small price to pay for better services to the students.

U of T housing officials were forced to rent hotel rooms in the Toronto area for 110 first-year students this year because of a lack of room in residences, said Pearl Karimalis, U of T's off-campus housing and residence co-ordinator.

"All I know is we need more spaces," she said. "We have had some problems over the last couple years but it was really bad this year."

Presently, U of T residences accommodate 5,000 students and the new residences are expected to provide housing for 500 more students, Finalyson said.

Finalyson added there is also a change in plans surrounding the new stadium. It will only seat 6,000 people and the existing arena next to Varsity on Bloor Street will not be replaced. The school is currently looking for $10 - $15 million in funding for the stadium plan.

The decision is well supported by the Student's Administration Council and many students, according to student president Matt Lenner.

"[Changing] the focus from a commercial deal to a residence deal is great," Lenner said. "It is a positive sign the university is willing to put students first."

Greg Moran, Western's VP-academic said the double cohort will definitely cause problems and schools like Toronto have to make initiatives to attract students.

"I can see Toronto's motivation. U of T has made it clear they are willing to make sacrifices in response to the upcoming cohort," Moran said.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999