Ultra Vires


Start of Semester Update from the SLS

A note from the President of the Students’ Law Society 

Welcome back to the beginning of another school year! With a return to the Jackman Law Building, whether in-person or over Zoom, the Students’ Law Society (SLS) will be offering events and advocacy to all students as we continue to adapt to the evolving circumstances of the pandemic.

The SLS is your student government and represents all JD and joint-program students at the Faculty of Law. Under our newly-implemented Constitution, the SLS has three committees: the Social and Finance Committee (“SFC”, formerly Social Affairs), the Student Life and Academic Committee (“SLAC”, formerly Student Affairs and Governance) and the Executive Committee made up of myself, the VP Social, VP Finance, VP Student Life, and VP Academic. 

Joining our 24 year representatives (four per year on each of SFC and SLAC) is the University of Toronto Students’ Union Law Director and our ten appointed officers: the SLS Equity Officers, Treasurers, Communications Officers, Administrative Officer, Secretaries, and Chief Returning Officer. You can learn more about the SLS on our website.

Welcome to the 1Ls!

Welcome 1Ls! It’s quite the journey you’ve embarked upon and the SLS is here to help make it easier. Whether it is an event to get to know your classmates, or you have an issue you need assistance addressing, the SLS is here to help! The past year and a half has required  everyone to adapt and be flexible—these are skills which will serve you well in law school. From what I and other upper years have already seen, you are a class of passionate, community-minded students, and we are excited to see what’s in store for you. Upper years are here to be resources; one of the best parts of our law school is the help available within and across years from students who continue to pay it forward. The SLS also has a number of student resources to help you out on our website, from study materials to a 1L guide!

I want to give a shout out to the upper-year students who welcomed you to the law school as your 2021 Orientation leaders. Congratulations to Anisha Sivathas (2L), Hannah Lank (3L), and Jennifer Sun (2L) for navigating a changing set of COVID-19 rules and sending the 1Ls on exciting missions, from an Amazing Race to a virtual escape room heist. I also want to thank the other tireless leaders within our student community who help facilitate the transition to law school through the Peer Mentorship and Peer Mental Health programs, as well as the leaders of the equity-facing groups who take on mentorship, guidance, and advocacy roles. 1Ls, you are in good hands. From all the upper-year students—welcome!

Welcome to the transfer students!

Welcome to all the students joining us permanently or on exchange. We continue to live in interesting times, but I hope that your time at U of T Law gives you an opportunity to connect with your new classmates and take some fascinating classes. Enjoy your new home; we look forward to getting to know you.

Summer Updates

Over the past year, we have heard from many students that accessibility, both in light of the pandemic and structural issues, remains a top priority. The SLS continues to convey that recorded lectures and flexibility from faculty and administration, especially under changing pandemic conditions, are a priority for students. We have called on the University to take steps to end the censure against the University of Toronto and are pleased to see that the censure has been paused. We also have urged the Faculty to proactively communicate changes to pandemic-related policies and information related to upper-year course selection. 

The SLS has worked to provide additional recruit-related mentorship opportunities. Building on the success of the 2L recruit buddies in February of this year, the SLS teamed up with the Career Development Office (CDO) to pair 2Ls and 3Ls in preparation for the recruit cycle that is currently underway. We have also hosted an upper-year panel where students could share their experiences across years. Good luck to all the students who are currently participating in the 2L recruit!

Finally, the SLS put on a successful Upper Year Welcome Back program during the first week of classes. The Upper Year Welcome Back was a series of in-person and virtual events to allow 2Ls and 3Ls to meet and re-meet one another after a challenging, mostly virtual year. Although COVID-19 restrictions made the events more structured, the SLS thanks everyone who came out for their cooperation and participation.

Fall Priorities

Now that we have our new slate of 1L reps (congratulations to Diego Jiminez Juri, Genevieve Simmons, Milana Grahovac, and Donya Ashnaei on SFC and Amy Kwong, Julia Campbell, Ben Kitching, and Justin Kim on SLAC), the SLS is looking forward to building on our summer priorities.

On the SLAC side, our priorities remain on navigating issues related to the pandemic and resulting restrictions. As many of us settle back into the Jackman Law Building, we will continue to identify any future issues that result from changing circumstances. 

Additionally, following up on the SLS’ letter to Dean Jutta Brunnée on the issue of rising tuition, circulated in March 2021, SLAC will follow up on its action items. 

Alongside student groups like the Indigenous Law Students’ Association, SLAC will be working to implement a mandatory course on Aboriginal law, Indigenous law, and cultural competency, as recommended by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Call to Action #28, by September 2022.

On the SFC side, our priorities are working within the provincial COVID-19 restrictions to provide in-person events as well as engaging virtual events. This fall, we see the much-anticipated return of Call to the Bar, SLS Virtual Trivia, and Hallawe’en. Stay tuned for more details! If you have any event ideas or feedback, we are all ears. You can drop us a note on our website anytime.

Although we continue to live in unprecedented times, this community has shown how adaptable and resilient it can be. I encourage everyone to  admire your perseverance and be kind to yourselves and one another. Welcome (or welcome back) to another exciting chapter at U of T Law!

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