Aegrotat Standing

FILE: Report #283
DATE: October 16, 2003
PARTIES: Mr. M.N. (the Student) v. UTSC


Hearing Date(s): September 16, 2003

Committee Members:
Professor Emeritus R. Scane (Chair)
Mr. M. Ahmad
Professor R. Elliott
Mrs. S. Scace
Professor J. Thiessen

Secretary:
Mr. P. Holmes, Judicial Affairs Officer

Appearances:

For The Student:

Mr. M.N. (the Student)
Mrs. N.

For UTSC:
Associate Dean I. McDonald

UTSC – late withdrawal without academic penalty – alternative request for aegrotat standing – illness effecting exam performance – deficient medical evidence – oral submissions established illness – not debarred from acting on finding of fact due to deficient medical evidence – unfair negative conclusions regarding “the problem of selectivity” – not unreasonable for a student adversely affected by illness to accept favourable examination results nor inconsistent to appeal other unfavourable examination results – requirement for granting aegrotat standing met – appeal allowed – grade of “F” vacated and replaced with grade of AEG – recommendation that the University take a more proactive role in reviewing the submission of medical documentation when accepting petitions

Request for late withdrawal without academic penalty from one course. Alternatively, the Student requested that aegrotat standing be considered. The Student failed the course after receiving less than 40% of the marks available on the final examination. The Student had passed the examinations in three other courses during the examination period. The Student successfully repeated the course in a subsequent term and requested the remedy in order to improve his GPA and remove the failure from the transcript. The Student claimed that he was suffering from a sore throat and shortness of breath which affected his performance on the examination. The Committee found that while the Student’s medical evidence was deficient, his viva voce submissions did establish that he was ill at the time he was writing his examination, and that the illness had an impact on his abilities during the examination period. The Committee considered whether the deficiencies in the medical evidence should prevent the Committee from acting on its own finding of fact. The Committee found that it would not debar itself from acting on its own finding of fact, because a student may not be successful in persuading the doctor to prepare the evaluation that University regulations contemplate, or may feel reluctant to challenge the sufficiency of what is proffered. The Committee found the Divisional Appeals Committee’s negative conclusions regarding “the problem of selectivity” to be unfair. The Committee stated that it does not believe that a student who was adversely affected by illness during an examination period is unreasonable in accepting a favourable examination result, nor does it believe that such a student is being inconsistent or unreasonable in appealing other examination results which were unfavourable. The Committee found that the requirement for granting aegrotat standing was met. The Student was unable to complete course requirements within a reasonable time because the illness affected the final examination, he could not complete that examination requirement until he was successful on a petition and, once successful, events had made completion of the course unnecessary. Appeal allowed. The Committee ordered that the grade of “F” be vacated and replaced with a grade of AEG. The Committee recommended that the University take a more proactive role in reviewing the submission of medical documentation when accepting petitions.