Report #318

DATE: April 20, 2007
PARTIES: Student Appellant v. UTM

Hearing Date(s): April 16, 2007

Committee Members:
Professor Ralph Scane, Senior Chair
Ms Coralie D’Souza
Professor Louise Lemieux-Charles
Ms Maureen Somerville
Professor Lorne Sossin

Ms Cristina Oke

the Student Appellant
For UTM:
Professor Gordon Anderson

UTM – late withdrawal without academic penalty – unexpected personal circumstances – Faculty custom to grant late withdrawal, once only per student, when requested before final examination – circumstances lasted longer than could reasonably be expected – cultural reasons led Student to give greater weight to advice of teaching assistant – grade must be evaluated against class average – minority opinion that circumstances at the drop date required a decision to either lighten load or take a chance on being unable to overcome difficulties – appeal allowed – grade of F vacated, retroactive withdraw without academic penalty allowed

Request to withdraw late without academic penalty from one course. The Student failed the course. The Student claimed he faced unexpected personal circumstances which took a toll on the time required for his studies. The Student discussed his situation with his teaching assistant who advised that he believed the Student had sufficient ability to pass the course. UTM typically grants a petition for such late withdrawal as long as it is requested before a student writes the final examination, once only, on reasonable grounds. The Student stated that he believed that this relief was granted only on medical grounds, so he did not apply. He wrote all of his examinations. The Committee found that the circumstances faced by the Student shortly before the drop date lasted longer than could reasonably be expected as of the drop date; that for cultural reasons the Student gave more weight to the view of the teaching assistant than it was intended to have; and that the grade of F must be evaluated against the class average of D+. A minority of the Committee found that the circumstances which the Student was facing at the drop date required the Student to elect whether to lighten his load or take his chances on being unable to overcome his difficulties and therefore there was no grounds for the appeal. Appeal allowed. The Committee ordered that the grade of F be vacated, and that the Student be allowed retroactively to withdraw from the course without academic penalty.