Case #253

DATE: December 8, 2000

PARTIES: Mr. O. (the “Student”) v. School of Graduate Studies

HEARING DATE: October 30, 2000

Committee Members:
Professor Edward Morgan, Acting Chair Professor Clare Beghtol
Mr. Ljupco Gjorgjinski
Ms Karen Lewis

Professor Kenneth Sevcik

Appearances:

For the Student Appellant:
Mr. O. (the “Student”)

For the School of Graduate Studies:
Ms Sari Springer, counsel
Professor Bernard Katz, Associate Dean, Division I

Secretary: Ms Susan Girard

The Student appealed a decision of the Graduate Academic Appeals Board (the Board) setting aside the Student’s termination from the Ph.D. program and providing guidelines for the formation of a thesis committee, and setting out the procedures for the re-read of the Student’s papers in one of his courses. The School of Graduate Studies (SGS) brought a motion before the Academic Appeals Committee (AAC) to quash the Student’s appeal on the basis that the decision under appeal had already been accepted by the Student.

The Board had ordered the Student’s reinstatement to the Ph.D. program on condition that he was willing to proceed without a supervisor and indicated that if a committee and/or supervisor could not be found, the student was free to proceed with his Ph.D. without either a committee or a supervisor. The AAC noted that the Student was entirely free to reject those terms and pursue an appeal of the Board's ruling. The AAC was satisfied, however, that the Student consented to the terms of the decision. The AAC stated that it was clear that the terms that were addressed - the questions of a thesis committee and a supervisor – were part of a single package, and that the Student accepted those terms as a package. The AAC determined that it was not open to the Student to accept the procedures established by the Board for constituting a thesis committee while not accepting the fact that there may be no thesis supervisor. These two items unambiguously went together in the Board’s decision, and the Student was aware that in accepting the Board’s terms and becoming reinstated to the Ph.D. program he was accepting both the procedures for constituting a thesis committee as well as the fact that he might have to pursue his thesis without a specialist supervisor. The AAC therefore decided that the Student’s appeal contradicted his previous explicit acceptance of the Board’s terms. The AAC determined that the Student had, by his own conduct and consent, barred himself from pursuing the appeal against the Board’s decision.

With regard to the re-read of the Student’s papers, the AAC noted that the Board had set out specific procedures for this process. The Student could consent to those procedures and thereby have the re-read take place, or he could oppose the procedures and the re-read would not take place. If he opposed the procedures for the re-read , he could appeal the decision of the Board setting out those procedures. The AAC stated that the Student was attempting to do both. The Student’s appeal contradicted his consent to and participation in the re-read process. The AAC took the view that having consented to the procedures established by the Board, and having taken advantage of that decision by having the re-read done, the Student could not then pursue an appeal of those very procedures.

The Committee was satisfied that the Student’s appeal could not proceed on either of its two grounds. The Student consented to and accepted the terms of his reinstatement into the Ph.D. program and could not therefore appeal those same terms; likewise, the Student consented to and accepted the procedures established for the re-read of his papers and could not therefore appeal those same procedures. The AAC granted the motion by SGS and quashed the Student’s appeal.