Report #261

DATE: January 15, 2002
PARTIES: Ms J.L., the Appellant v. UTSC


Hearing Date(s): January 8, 2002

Committee Members:
Assistant Dean Bonnie Goldberg, Acting Chairperson
Professor Brian Corman
Professor Gretchen Kerr
Professor Donna Wells
Ms Geeta Yadav

Judicial Affairs Officer:
Mr. Paul Holmes

In Attendance:
Ms Emily Morton, for the appellant, Downtown Legal Services
Ms J.L., the Appellant
Associate Dean Ian McDonald for the respondent, UTSC

UTSC – request to defer one–year suspension – previous suspension deferred – psychological disorder diagnosed post-facto – assistance offered but not sought until second suspension – treatment not progressed because access to services restricted as a suspended student and because of reluctance to seek help from external sources – due to timing of request granting remedy could further alienate Student – appeal dismissed

Request to defer a one–year suspension. The Student was suspended for failing to maintain a minimum GPA. The Student had a previous one–year suspension deferred. The Student’s first petition was based on, and granted as a result of, the psychological effects of a congenital condition. Following the filing of her appeal of the second petition, the Student claimed that she had been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, learned about the correlation between the disorder and her poor performance on exams, begun to receive treatment, and made arrangements for exam accommodations. The Student claimed that until she was diagnosed with the anxiety disorder, she was not aware of the severity of her problem, nor of its impact on examinations and that, as a result, her suspension should be deferred. The Committee considered the Student’s attempts to deal with the psychological and emotional effects of her illness, and the programs and services offered by the Faculty to assist her to improve her academic performance, and found that although the Student continued to experience academic difficulties following her first suspension, she did not seek further help until her second suspension. The Committee observed that it had more information before it than the Divisional Appeals Committee, but only because the Student had sought help, which was what was expected of a student on suspension. The Committee found that the Student had not sufficiently progressed in her treatment since she could not access services as a suspended student and because she was reluctant to seek help from external sources. The Committee also considered the effect of granting the deferral part way through the term and found that if the Student had been allowed to return to school immediately, she would have missed most of her introductory lectures and could have felt further alienated. Appeal dismissed.