U of T Turned Down Brampton Campus

 

Recently, the city of Brampton announced that Ryerson is looking to become the city's university partner and that the campus—the first satellite location for the downtown Toronto-based school—will form a partnership with Sheridan College (a three-campus institution that boasts the longstanding Davis campus in the city).

The news came out after the province revealed that it received a complete Expression of Interest from the school. Ryerson was the only school that formally expressed interest in the partnership.

Although it's not clear which universities were interested, it appears that the University of Toronto officially declined the opportunity. On March 14, the University of Toronto sent a letter to the city formally declining to further pursue the possibility of a U of T expansion into Brampton.

The letter, sent to Mayor Linda Jeffrey by U of T president Meric S. Gertler, said that the prestigious academic institution appreciated the opportunity to meet with city staff "over the past several months to discuss the province's proposal for university expansion in Brampton." It then went on to say that, following internal consultations with the faculty and academic leadership, the school decided not to pursue the opportunity.

After adding that the school is going to focus on its current commitments, Gertler said that Brampton is "clearly well-positioned to fulfill its potential and increase its profile and influence in the GTA and beyond."

Gertler also said that U of T regularly welcomes Brampton students to its campuses and that it hopes to continue to work with Brampton and local industry to "explore creative partnerships and programming to address the growing demographic and economic opportunities of city and region."

But although U of T declined to put forth a formal proposal, the news that Ryerson is interested is incredibly exciting—especially since the city will ultimately benefit from another acclaimed institution.

"During my mayoral campaign, I heard loud and clear from the residents of our city that they wanted Brampton to finally get a university. Residents told me they were devastated when the previous Council's attempt failed," Jeffrey said in a statement. "As one of the youngest and most diverse cities in Canada, residents also told me that a university would help improve our reputation. I made acquiring a university a top priority during my first term.  Our city is a prime destination for a university, which is also supplemented by our central position on the Innovation Super Corridor between Waterloo and downtown Toronto."

When the province first put out the call for formal expression of interest, it asked that university applicants be enthusiastic about a strong college partnership. Fortunately for the city, Ryerson appears ready to embark on a partnership with Sheridan.  

"This proposal, when completed, will ensure that Brampton will not only benefit from a university, but a university-college partnership with Sheridan College, one of Canada's most innovative applied colleges," Jeffrey said. "I look forward to learning more about the proposal's details."

The road to the university has been something of an interesting one.

In late 2016, Brampton council fretted over how the $180 million promised by the province to fund the project will be split between it and Milton (the other city set to receive a university partner). Council also wondered where the university would take shape and how much funding they would be responsible for.

Hiccups aside, the plan appears to be moving forward.

Earlier, the province announced that its plan is to create new postsecondary facilities focused on science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics—subjects often grouped together under the acronym STEAM. The two new sites are part of the second phase of Ontario’s expansion of post-secondary infrastructure. In May of 2015, the province announced the creation of the York University-Markham Centre campus in partnership with Seneca College.

 

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