Report #279

DATE: May 6, 2003
PARTIES: Mr. M.T. (the Appellant) v. the Faculty of Arts and Sciences


Hearing Date(s): April 7, 2003

Committee Members:
Assistant Dean Bonnie Goldberg, Chair
Professor Sherwin Desser
Professor Luigi Girolametto
Professor Gretchen Kerr
Mr. Chris Ramsaroop

Judicial Affairs Officer:
Mr. Paul Holmes

In Attendance:

Mr. M.T., the Appellant
Professor William Michelson, formerly Associate Dean, Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Science, University of Toronto

Faculty of Arts and Sciences – late withdrawal without academic penalty – appeal twelve years after receiving failing grade – illness – grade could unfairly restrict opportunity to pursue academic career or further academic study – not possible to accumulate sufficient documentary evidence as to how illness affected academic performance – insufficient medical evidence – medical documentation not created at time of petition – familiarity with University procedures – minority opinion that circumstances of medical condition prevented Student from seeking assistance at the time and that oral evidence substantiated claim of illness – appeal dismissed

Request for late withdrawal without academic penalty from one course. The Student failed the course. The Student undertook the appeal twelve years after receiving the failing grade. The Student claimed that his performance in the course was negatively affected by illness. The Student claimed that, given his subsequent academic achievement, the course grade could unfairly restrict his opportunity to pursue an academic career or further academic study. The Student requested that the Committee not require proof that his future career prospects could be negatively impacted by his failure in the course. The Committee found that only partial information about the Student’s performance in the course was available for review and thus it was not possible to accumulate sufficient documentary evidence as to how the Student’s performance in the course was affected by illness. The Committee found that the medical evidence presented as to the severity, nature, and impact of the Student’s illness was insufficient and that the medical documentation was not created at the time the petition was made. The Committee found that the Student had sought late withdrawal from other courses during the relevant period, and was thus familiar with the University’s procedures and could have addressed the impact of his illness on his academic performance at that time. The Committee observed that the Student was seeking relief for a perceived detrimental effect that could not be proved or disproved, but would, if granted, set a precedent of removing grades from transcripts, well past deadlines, well past reasonable time frames, and without sufficient supporting documentation. A minority of the Committee found that the circumstances of the Student’s medical condition prevented him from seeking assistance at the time the problems occurred and that the medical documentation, with the Student’s oral evidence, substantiated his claim of illness. Appeal dismissed.