The Original ICSS
Written by Louisa You | Dec 6, 2018
Found in our archives, this photo features one of the first generations of the Innis College Student Society (ICSS), likely at the infamous Innis College Formal on January 20, 1966 at Hart House.
Today, the ICSS is comprised of 19 elected and 2 appointed students that represent and serve the Innis community by holding events, such as the annual (and still infamous) Formal; organizing intercollegiate intramural sports; and managing the more mundane services, such as renting lockers to commuters—to name a few. Among the elected members are portfolio directors, who manage equity and outreach, social activities, athletics, and clubs and merchandise, as well as representatives for commuting, graduating, international, and first-year students. Each representative and executive member holds weekly office hours in the ICSS office (just behind the Innis Café).
The ICSS is a renowned image of the close-knit Innis community and has represented its students since the humble founding of the College itself. 54 years ago, the original “ICSS Constitution Committee” was formed by then Innis vice-principal and registrar Geoffrey Payzant., on September 29, 1964. The committee was comprised of six Innis students – John Bayly, Howard Johnson, Wendy Lord, Robert Patrick, and Cathy Smith – as well as assistant registrar Mary Pat McMahon. They worked quickly and tirelessly as an interim executive student government to draft a constitution. Shortly thereafter, on October 26, the student body voted to ratify it. With the College Council’s ratification one day later, the constitution was in place.
Not only did the document outline responsibilities of the ICSS to plan social events and student initiatives, in 1965 the constitution was amended to further delegate the running of student elections for the “Student-Staff Committee.” This group, established as a sub-committee of the College’s overarching governing council, served as a liaison between Innis students, represented by the ICSS, and the council, then comprised exclusively of faculty and staff. This committee eventually evolved into the Innis College Council (ICC), the College’s governing body and the only one at the University of Toronto that maintains parity (equal representation) between students and non-students (faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of the College). To this day, despite amendments, the ICSS constitution still mandates the election of (thirteen) student representatives to ICC.
On November 3, 1964, the first ICSS elections were held. The position of first ICSS president went to the late John Bayly (front row, fourth from left), while Robert Patrick (front row, far left) was elected vice-president. Incidentally, Patrick was the de facto class photographer and deserves credit for preserving many more archival memories of the College’s early days through his camera lens.
This particular photo was taken between late 1965 and early 1966, featuring the second iteration of the ICSS, which included new first-year students. However, there were also many upper-year students as most of the students who were prominent in the ICSS’s founding stayed on. In 1964, ten first-year students volunteered to help the upper years as the “Student Information Bureau,” including the late David Rozen (back row, fifth from left). Rozen also served as a member of the “Innis Control Board Officials” (ICBO), an organization whose function and purpose were obscure, but was assuredly useless. Also pictured here is the original ICSS first-year women’s representative, Marsha Ablack (third from right), a prominent player on the women’s hockey team.
Mary Pat McMahon, (front row, far right), the newly hired assistant registrar, worked closely with the students, as part of the original constitutional committee, and was instrumental in its drafting.