Report #311

DATE: December 6, 2006
PARTIES: The Student Appellant v. the Faculty of Arts & Science


Hearing Date(s): November 7, 2006

Committee Members:
Assistant Dean Bonnie Goldberg, Chair
Ms Saswati Deb
Professor William Gough
Professor Louise Lemieux-Charles
Dr. Cindy Woodland

Judicial Affairs Officer:
Dr. Anthony Gray

In Attendance:
The student
Mr Philip Viater, for the appellant
Vice Dean Susan Howson, Faculty of Arts & Science
Sari Springer, Counsel for the Respondent

Faculty of Arts & Science – request for late withdrawal without academic penalty – consideration afforded to accommodate illness – final examinations re–weighted to count for 100% – allegation that Faculty transgressed its policies and provisions – University of Toronto Grading Practices Policy – Faculty of Arts and Science policy on “Missed Term Tests” – Faculty of Arts and Science policy on “Marking Schemes” – Faculty’s policies appropriately applied – provisions applied to setting of evaluation not to method following accommodation – recommendation that Faculty consider adding additional clarification to its “Missed Term Tests” – Appeal dismissed

Request for late withdrawal without academic penalty from two courses. The Student was absent from the terms tests for medical reasons. To accommodate the Student’s illness, the Faculty re–weighted the final examinations to count for 100% of the Student’s final mark in both courses. The Student did not write the final examination for either course and received a mark of “zero” in both. The Student claimed that he was too sick to write the examinations, but provided medical documentation for only one of the examinations. The student claimed that the Faculty transgressed two policies and three provisions. The Committee found that the Faculty and Divisional Appeals Committee’s appropriately applied the Faculty’s policies to the Student’s situation, and that the Faculty’s policies were neither transgressed nor unfair. In each instance of illness and accommodation, the Faculty followed its procedures. The provisions in question applied to the setting of the evaluation of the course and once a student is in a course and requires accommodation, a different set of considerations come into play. With reference to Classroom Procedures, section II.2 of the University of Toronto Grading Practices Policy, the Committee found that the Faculty correctly invoked its ability to set its own policies, particularly its policy regarding “Missed Term Tests”, by which exemptions to II.2.(c) may be determined. With reference to the Faculty of Arts and Science policy on “marking schemes”, the Committee found that the courses at appeal only became courses where one form of evaluation was used as a result of the Faculty’s efforts to accommodate the student’s illness and his decision to remain in the course. With reference to the Faculty of Arts and Science policy regarding “Missed Term Tests,” the Committee found that the Faculty followed its procedures when the student missed the first term test with accepted medical documentation, by implementing provision 3(b). The prohibition against 100% finals applied only to 100 level courses. In applying the policy regarding “Missed Term Tests,” the Faculty appropriately looked to the evaluation method of the course when it was first set, not after the student sought accommodation. Appeal dismissed. The Committee recommended that the Faculty consider adding additional clarification to its policy regarding “Missed Term Tests,” to avoid any future misinterpretation.