Report #353

DATE: December 17, 2010
PARTIES: A.D. (the Student) v. UTM

Hearing Date(s): December 10, 2010

Committee Members:
Professor Markus Dubber, Chair
Professor Denise Belsham
Dr. Gerald Halbert
Jeff Peters
Professor Arthur Ripstein


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

For the UTM:
Professor Gordon Anderson

UTM – reinstatement – lifting of suspension – early return from suspension – medical illness – previous reinstatement from suspension – reasonable imposition of suspension – no evidence of significant change in medical condition – no change in capacity for university studies – purpose of a suspension – dissenting opinion – likelihood of seeking academic counselling – appeal dismissed

Appeal relates to the Student’s wish to lift an imposed suspension. The Student sought early return from his suspension. The UTM Committee on Standing had previously placed the Student on a one-year suspension. On appeal, the UTM Academic Appeals Board lifted the suspension and placed the Student on probation, further advising the Student to seek academic skills advising and to restrict himself to no more than three courses over the fall and winter sessions. The Student was also advised by the Academic Appeals Board Chair to withdraw from courses when indications were that he was not progressing well. After the first suspension had been lifted, the Student increased his enrolment to five courses and, rather than withdrawing from some or all of the courses, he continued with poor results in his sessional, annual, and cumulative GPAs. The Student set up an appointment with the Academic Skills Center as per the first acceptance of their appeal from his first one-year suspension, but failed to attend. The Student was once again placed on a one-year suspension. The Committee considered the second suspension. The majority of the Committee concluded that the imposition of the suspension was reasonable and that the Student had failed to produce compelling evidence of the requisite change in circumstances needed for the extraordinary remedy of early return from a suspension. The Committee found the Student provided no evidence of significant change in his medical condition or in his capacity to produce academic work of a sufficient quality. The Student stated he still had not sought the support of the Academic Skills Centre and still believed no such support was required. The Committee characterized the purpose of a suspension as a chance for the Student to consider how university studies fit into his life and career path and to develop the maturity required for a successful completion of studies. The Committee found there was no indication or evidence that those purposes were met in the Student’s case. Appeal dismissed.

A dissenting member of the Committee was of the view that the appeal should be allowed because the Student would be no more likely to seek academic counselling during the remaining four months of his suspension than he was during the preceding eight months of the suspension and having the Student complete the entirety of his suspension would serve no purpose.