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Trinity College Literary Institute
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The Trinity College Literary Institute was founded in 1854 with the amalgamation of the Debating Society and The Union. The student debating society of the Diocesan Theological Institute at Cobourg started sometime between 1842 and 1849. The first extant minutes from 20 April 1849 refer to the "yearly proceedings" being closed. This statement implies that it had existed at least since the Fall of 1848. The "Cobourg Star" dated 5 April 1848 reports the founding of a debating society in the town the previous evening. However, it is not mentioned as being associated with the Theological Institution. There is also some reason to believe that the Society was founded early in 1846, when the Diocesan Theological Institute was reorganized and expanded. By the summer of 1849, the Society had eighteen members and was holding weekly debates. A room was set aside for it at Cobourg, heated in winter by a wood stove. A student Union was formed shortly after the opening of Trinity College on Queen Street (1852) in Toronto.
The Trinity College Literary Institute is one of the student governments of Trinity College and has constitutional authority over specific traditional events held at the College by the students, most notably the regular debates. According to the constitution, "[t]he objects of the Institute shall be the fostering of cultural activities and the encouragement of public speaking."
According to the revised and amended "Constitution of the Trinity College Literary Institute" of 1974, all graduates and undergraduates of Trinity College are Active Members of the Trinity College Literary Institute, popularly known as The Lit. Honorary Members consist of Former Members of the Institute, the Provost, Professors, Lecturers and Fellows of Trinity College and anyone elected as such by a vote of two-thirds of the Members present at an Ordinary meeting. Life Members consist of former members of Trinity College who have paid a requisite fee.
The Lit enables several legislated committees or curatorial positions (some now obsolete), namely: The Opposition Committee, The Debates Committee, The Constitution Committee, The St. Hilda's Open House Committee, The Conversazione Committee, The Junior Common Room Curator, The Magazine Committee, The Rigby Room Curator, The TCLI Dinner Committee, The Art Committee, and The Music Committee. The Lit also awards the Trinity College Literary Pendants, the 4T5 Debating Trophy, the Literary Institute Trophy, and the
The permanent officers are the Honorary President, the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker, and the Treasurer. The Lit is governed by a Council consisting of a Prime Minister, Government House Leader, Clerk of the House, Keeper of the Mace, and two Councillors who are First Year students.
[Sources: "Constitution of the Trinity College Literary Institute" revised and amended 1974;
"The Reminiscences of Arthur Jarvis"; "A History of Trinity College Toronto 1852-1952"]
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Trinity College Archives