February News Briefs
Canada automatically qualifies for 2026 FIFA World Cup
According to a CBC article, on February 14, 2023, FIFA issued a statement saying that the Canadian men’s soccer team has secured an automatic spot for themselves in the 2026 FIFA World Cup. Canada, alongside the US and Mexico, will be co-hosts for the tournament in 2026, which secures qualifications for each of them. Toronto and Vancouver are among the 16 cities set to host games across the three countries. The 2026 FIFA World Cup, which will take place between June 3 and July 8, 2026, will be the first soccer event to have more than two countries as co-hosts.
Islamophobia at UTM
On February 13, 2023, the University of Toronto Mississauga Muslim Students’ Association (UTMMSA) released a statement revealing two incidents of Islamophobia on campus. One incident pertains to Professor Jumi Shin, who currently teaches CHM242H5: Introductory Organic Chemistry. Professor Shin has reportedly been checking Muslim women’s hijabs for earphones, or any other unauthorized aids, before tests. Muslim students say that the professor has partially removed their hijabs in the presence of other students, which they feel is a violation of their right to religious expression.
Another incident has to do with PSY220H5: Introduction to Social Psychology professor, Dax Urbzsat, who reportedly made “false and inappropriate claims” regarding Islam during a lecture. One claim was that “Islam rewards the killing of innocent people.” The UTMMSA refers to his statement as “a textbook example of Islamophobia.” Both incidents have been reported to the Dean of Student Services.
Results of the UTMSU Lobby Week
During the first week of February, the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union, alongside student representatives, met with the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) administration to lobby for increased food security, improvements to learning experiences, and academic policy adjustments.
Regarding food security, the UTM administration guarantees that chicken and beef from internal food service providers, such as Colman Commons, are halal. The UTM administration will also be improving signage for vegan and vegetarian cuisine. Additionally, student auditors will provide feedback to the university on food handlers’ quality of work. For financial aids, the UTM administration will be increasing the amount of aid provided by scholarships and the number of paid internships for students. To accommodate students’ various needs, more hybrid and online courses are also being considered.
In regard to academic policy adjustments, the university administration will be increasing staff numbers to address accumulated academic integrity cases. Additionally, the UTM administration is participating in a tri-campus working group that is exploring the extension of the Credit/No Credit deadline. An update on this will be provided between March and April.
Novo Nordisk partners with UTM to explore diabetes and obesity prevention
Recently, Novo Nordisk, a European pharmaceutical company, partnered with U of T and the City of Mississauga to discover more about diabetes and obesity prevention. Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen, Novo Nordisk’s CEO, states: “We believe that by bringing public and private capabilities together, we can look into how we can prevent diseases.” He adds that to prevent diseases like obesity and diabetes, it is necessary to “[look] at local environments and [bring] all our knowledge and capabilities at play.” Mississauga is one of over 40 cities worldwide that is participating in Novo Nordisk’s “Cities Changing Diabetes” program.