Report #276

DATE: March 20, 2003
PARTIES: Ms N.K. (the Student) v. UTSC


Hearing Date(s): February 26, 2003

Committee Members:
Professor Emeritus R. Scane (Chair)
Professor C. Beghtol
Mr. M. Braun
Professor L. Girolametto
Ms K. Lewis

Judicial Affairs Officer:
Mr. P. Holmes

In Attendance:

For the Student:

Ms N.K. (the Student)
Ms S. Choudhury
Mr. G. Bazov

For UTSC:
Associate Dean I. McDonald

UTSC – late withdraw without academic penalty – alternative request to re-write final examination for 100% of course mark – request to re-write final examination in another course – illness during exam period – Student not unfairly advantaged over other students if allowed re-write of final examination for 100% of course mark – evidence did not establish finding that Student did "no work" – medical notes adequate despite Student not visiting doctor on date of examination – neither remedy requested so clearly indicated or excluded – minority opinion that evidence did not justify interfering with Divisional Appeals Committee decision – no evidence for negative finding that diagnosis was "inconsistent” – "actually prevent" suggests that a student acting in good faith should reasonably feel that she or he is not up to getting to the examination site and completing the examination – see Faculty’s Academic Regulations – medical notes equivocal as to degree of incapacitation – onus on student to establish reasonable grounds for failing to attend an examination – appeal allowed in part – request for late withdrawal without academic penalty from one course or alternatively, to re-write the final examination for 100% of the course mark allowed – request to re-write the final examination in another course denied – Student to elect whether to withdraw from the course without academic penalty or write a final examination for 100% of the course mark

Request for late withdraw without academic penalty in one course, or alternatively, to re-write the final examination for 100% of the course mark, and to re-write the final examination in another course. The Student did not write the final exams in either course. She claimed that she suffered illness during the exam period. With respect to the first course, the Committee considered the course grading scheme and found that the Student would not be unfairly advantaged over other students if she were to allowed re-write the final examination for her entire course grade. The Committee found that the evidence did not establish the Divisional Appeals Committee’s finding that the Student did "no work", as distinct from no assignments in the course. The Committee considered the medical notes prepared by the Student’s family doctor and found that the medical documents, together with the Student's evidence, adequately covered the relevant time period, despite the fact that the Student did not visit a doctor on the date on the examination. On the Student’s initial visit, the doctor anticipated that the Student's condition would be seriously debilitating over the subsequent days, and on a following visit, the doctor confirmed the earlier prognosis. A minority of the Committee found that the medical and other evidence did not justify relief. The Committee found that neither remedy requested was so clearly indicated or excluded and that the Student should be permitted to elect either remedy. With respect to the second course at appeal, the Committee considered the medical note from the doctor visited on the day of the missed exam and found that while the diagnosis was different from that given by the Student’s family doctor, there was no evidence for the negative finding of the Divisional Appeals Committee that the diagnosis was "inconsistent.” The Committee considered the Faculty’s Academic Regulations and found that, while not an exhaustive definition, the term "actually prevent" suggests that a student acting in good faith should reasonably feel that she or he is not up to getting to the examination site and completing the examination. The Committee found that the medical notes were equivocal as to the degree of the Student’s incapacitation at the time of the examination and that the onus of establishing that a student has reasonable grounds for failing to attend an examination rests on the student. Appeal allowed in part. Request for retroactive late withdrawal from one course or alternatively, to re-write the final examination for 100% of the course mark allowed. Request to re-write the final examination in another course denied. The Committee ordered that the Student could elect to withdraw from the course without academic penalty or write a final examination for 100% of the mark in the course. In default of timely notification, the Student was deemed to have elected late withdrawal.