Report #350

DATE: November 5, 2010
PARTIES: E.S. (the Student) v. University of Toronto, Faculty of Applied Sciences and Engineering


Hearing Date(s): October 7, 2010

Committee Members:
Professor Emeritus Ralph Scane, Chair
Judith Goldring
Professor Elizabeth Smyth
Professor Wendy Ward
Gregory West

Appearances:

For the Student Appellant:
E.S. (the Student)
Joshua Chan, DLS for the Student
Jordan Giurlanda, DLS for the Student

For the University of Toronto, Faculty of Applied Sciences and Engineering:
Professor Thomas Coyle, Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering
Barbara McCann, Registrar of the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering
Khuong Doan, Associate Registrar of Faculty of Applied Science of Engineering

University of Toronto, Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering – late withdrawal without academic penalty – T-Program – family circumstances – automobile accident – Boocock-Will formula – reassessment – procedural issues – failure to provide sufficient reasons – Student could not attend the hearing – precise nature of the Boocock-Will formula – re-evaluation of academic standing – onus of showing the formula was incorrectly applied – onus not met – appeal dismissed

Appeal of a decision to deny the Student his petition for a late withdrawal without academic penalty. The Student had originally been granted leave to withdraw from all courses taken during the Student’s first term. The Student was readmitted into the program the next year but did not achieve a sessional average that was sufficient to proceed into the next term. The Student then enrolled into the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering’s “T-Program”. The Student’s father was soon after involved in a serious automobile accident in the Student’s home country in Europe. The Student continued in his courses and wrote his final examinations. The Student developed an acute case of sinusitis during the examination period, for which he sought medical treatment. The Student petitioned for relief from three courses on the grounds of his medical condition and the emotional stress he experienced as a result of his father’s injury. The Committee granted relief upon the basis of the medical evidence. The three courses were re-assessed under the Boocock-Will formula. The Committee noted that previous committees had expressed unease with the formula, but had not considered it proper to interfere with its application. The Committee held that the Student’s submission that the Board lacked sufficient reasons for its decision was factually correct. The Committee found, though, that the failure of the Board to provide sufficient reasons for its decision did not necessitate the relief sought by the Student. Since the Student already had the opportunity to be heard again under by the existing Committee, the procedural fairness issues were then moot and no further relief was warranted. The Committee further found that the second procedural ground raised by the Student, that the Student could not attend the hearing was insufficient to grant the remedy of a late withdrawal without academic penalty. The Committee found that the Student declined an opportunity to pursue the possibility of a rehearing at the Faculty level at which he could attend and that the Student had the opportunity of a full hearing before the Committee. The Committee further held that the Student’s submission that he was unaware of the precise nature of the Boocock-Will formula and did not wish for it to be used as a remedy was insufficient to grant the remedy sought. The Committee held that, since the Student did not request an assessment under the formula, but merely requested a re-evaluation of academic standing, it was the prerogative of the lower committee to apply the formula. The remedy granted in a previous appeal came about because of the discretionary decision of the Committee on Examinations to apply the formula and not because of any request of the Student. The Committee held the Committee on Examinations was acting within its powers in that regard. The Committee concluded by finding that the onus of showing that the formula was incorrectly applied was not met and that there was no basis for substituting the specific relief requested by the Student. Appeal dismissed.