Report #285

DATE: November 17, 2003
PARTIES: Ms. L. v. UTSC


Hearing Date(s): October 14, 2003

Committee Members:
Professor Emeritus R. Scane (Chair)
Mr. M. Ahmad
Professor B. Corman
Professor R. Elliot
Mrs. S. Scace

Secretary:
Ms. S. Girard

Appearances:

For the Student:

Mr. L.

For UTSC:
Associate Dean I. McDonald

UTSC – request to re-write final examination and defer three year suspension – difficulty adjusting to university and family problems – problems not sufficiently compelling to interfere with three–year suspension – illness – deficient medical documentation – exam performance not substantially weaker than term average – oral evidence accepted – probable that failure on examination would not have happened but for medical condition – minority opinion that illness was insufficient basis to explain failure – appeal allowed in part – Student to be permitted to re-write examination – appeal to defer three–year suspension dismissed

Request to re-write the final examination in one course and to defer a three year suspension. The Student failed the course. With respect to the three–year suspension, the Student claimed that she had difficulty adjusting to university life and that she had been distressed and distracted by serious family problems. The Committee considered the inability of the Student to improve her academic performance despite the extended time she had to adjust to her problems and found that the problems were not sufficiently compelling to interfere with the three–year suspension. With respect to the examination, the Student claimed that she had a history of stomach pain and was suffering from a cold on the date of the exam which affected her performance. Before the examination a nurse at the UTSC Health Centre assessed her condition as having “minimal impact” on her academic functioning. Before the exam the Student claimed that she experienced severe stomach pain in addition to the existing cold symptoms. The Student claimed that she did not return to the UTSC Health Centre for medical assessment because she believed from previous experience that the stomach condition would clear itself. The Committee found that the medical documentation submitted was deficient and that the Student’s performance on the exam was not substantially weaker than her term average in the course. However, the Committee accepted the Student’s oral evidence and found that it was probable that the failure on the final examination would not have happened but for the Student’s medical condition. A minority of the Committee found that there was insufficient basis to conclude that the illness was a satisfactory explanation for the failure. Appeal allowed in part. The Committee ordered that the Student be allowed to re-write the final examination in the course. The appeal to defer the three–year suspension was dismissed. If the Student’s final mark received in the course after the rewritten final examination was sufficiently high, the Committee observed that the suspension would be removed retroactively.