Report #272

DATE: November 28, 2002
PARTIES: Ms. M.K. (the Student) v. UTSC


Hearing Date(s): November 19, 2002

Committee Members:
Professor Ed Morgan, Chair
Professor Sherwin Desser
Professor Cheryl Misak
Mr. Chris Ramsaroop
Professor John Wedge

Judicial Affairs Officer:
Mr. Paul Holmes

In Attendance:

For the Student:

Ms. M.K. (the Student)
Ms. Soma Choudhury, Downtown Legal Services
Ms. Erica Toews (observing), Faculty of Law

For UTSC:
Professor Ian McDonald, Associate Dean

UTSC – request to write a deferred examination – student visited dying family member abroad – had family member died then conditions for special considerations would be met and petition granted – see Faculty’s policy on deferred exams – reasonable to consider visit to dying family member to be equally appropriate “special circumstance” – no position to predict course of family member’s fatal illness – need to travel abroad a factor beyond Student’s control – Divisional Appeals Committee did not have complete information before it – Divisional Appeals Committee was under mistaken impression that the Student was failing course – error sufficient to undermine fair process – appeal allowed – Student permitted to write deferred examination in course

Request to write deferred examination. The Student claimed that she was unable to write the exam because she had left Canada to visit with her dying grandmother. The Faculty advised the Committee that had the Student’s grandmother died prior to the exam the conditions for special considerations, as described in the Faculty’s policy on deferred exams, would have been met and the Student’s petition would been granted, but that the same conditions were not met for a visit to the grandmother in advance of her death. The Committee found that if a visit abroad in the event of a grandparent’s death constituted an appropriate “special circumstance” for a deferred exam, then it was reasonable to consider a visit to a dying grandparent to be an equally appropriate “special circumstance”. The Student was not in a position to predict the precise course of her grandmother’s fatal illness and her need to travel abroad just prior to the exam was a factor beyond her control. The Committee observed that if the Divisional Appeals Committee had had the complete medical diagnosis of the Student’s grandmother before it when it heard the appeal it may have come to a different conclusion. The Committee found that the Divisional Appeals Committee was under the mistaken impression that the Student was failing the course at the time of her departure from Canada and that the error was sufficient to undermine the fair process of the appeal. The Committee observed that the exercise of the Divisional Appeals Committee’s judgment would be tainted by misinformation about whether the petitioner is passing or failing the course for which special consideration is being requested, and found that the Student had a right to a hearing by the Divisional Appeals Committee with her accurate academic record before it. Appeal allowed. The Committee ordered that the Student be permitted to write a deferred examination in the course.