Report #310

DATE: September 29, 2006
PARTIES: The Student Appellant v UTSC


Hearing Date(s): September 1, 2006

Committee Members:
Assistant Dean Kate Hilton, Chair
Professor Brian Corman
Professor Glen Jones
Professor Ellen Hodnett
Ms. Johanna Weststar

Judicial Affairs Officer:
Dr. Anthony Gray

In Attendance:
The “Student”
Mr. Roland Luo (Counsel for the Student)
Associate Dean Nick Cheng, UTSC

UTSC – request to re-write final examination – physical illness – poor instruction – additional materials filed following Notice of Appeal – motion to exclude Faculty response denied – evidence submitted did not merit relief based on medical grounds – no jurisdiction to assess quality of instructor – classroom performance of a particular instructor constitute grounds for academic appeal only where a student was differentially disadvantaged – no conclusive evidence that instruction was inadequate – no reason to conclude that instruction had had differential impact – appeal dismissed

Request to re-write the final examination in one course. The Student claimed that she had received poor instruction and that at the time of her final examination she was suffering from nausea and dizziness. The Student’s physical illness was raised for the first time in the Notice of Appeal to the Committee. With the Committee’s permission, the Student filed additional materials in support of her appeal following the original Notice of Appeal. The Student brought a motion to exclude the Faculty’s response to the Student’s additional materials on the grounds that the Faculty had failed to deliver the response within the agreed-upon timelines. The Committee denied the motion on the grounds that all applicable timelines had been complied with and that there was no prejudice to the Student. The Committee considered the Student’s medical certificate and oral evidence with respect to her physical and mental state, and the Faculty’s policy on rewriting a final exam based on medical grounds and found that the evidence submitted did not meet the standard required to merit relief. The Committee noted that neither it, nor the Divisional Appeals Committee, has the jurisdiction to assess the quality of a particular instructor and that allegations concerning the classroom performance of a particular instructor (even if substantiated) would constitute grounds for an academic appeal only in rare situations where a student could demonstrate that he or she was differentially disadvantaged, relative to the other students in the class. The Committee found that that there was no conclusive evidence submitted that the instruction was inadequate and no reason to conclude that the instruction had had a differential impact on the Student relative to her fellow classmates. Appeal dismissed.