Report #337

DATE: October 10, 2009
PARTIES: A.H., (the Student) v. UTM

Hearing Date(s): September 3, 2009

Committee Members:
Professor Lorne Sossin, Chair
Adam Heller
Professor Ellen Hodnett
Professor Chris Koenig-Woodyard
Gregory West

For the Student Appellant:
A.H. (the Student)

For the UTM:
Professor Gordon Anderson

UTM – late withdrawal without academic penalty – medical illness – substantial documentation – previous withdrawals – previous deferrals – lack of a compelling case to justify the extraordinary remedy – Student’s history of deferring exams and withdrawing from courses – previous warning to observe deadlines – Student’s familiarity with drop process – no indication of the Student being treated unfairly – medical difficulties persisted throughout the term – no new difficulties arising after the deadline – no indication the Student was unable to seek relief prior to the deadline – appeal dismissed

Appeal of a decision to deny the Student permission to withdraw without penalty from two courses. The Student suffered from hypothyroidism and had received a range of accommodations to deal with the consequences of their medical condition. The Student had provided substantial medical documentation in support of their condition. The Student believed that their medical condition, compounded by anxiety, led to poor performance in the exam they had written and affected their decision not to write an exam in another course. The Student asserted that these factors were outside their control and justified the remedy that they sought. The Academic Appeals Board took no issue with the existence or the seriousness of the Student’s medical condition. The Student’s initial appeal was denied due to a lack of a compelling case for an exemption from University regulations, the Student’s history of deferring exams and withdrawing from courses, a previous warning that had been issued regarding the Student’s responsibility for observing deadlines, and the Academic Appeal Board’s strong recommendation that the Student obtain help from the Academic Skills Centre. The Committee agreed with the conclusion reached by the Academic Appeals Board that the Student was familiar with the drop process and had been warned to meet deadlines in an orderly fashion. The Committee agreed that there was enough evidence that the Student knew they should drop the courses in a timely fashion. The Committee further held that the Student was aware that their illness was impeding their academic progress. The Committee found there was no indication UTM had treated the Student unfairly. The Committee concluded that the difficulties the Student experienced persisted throughout the term and did not arise only after the deadline for withdrawal. The Committee held there was no indication that the Student was unable to seek relief prior to the deadline for withdrawal without academic penalty. Appeal dismissed.