Report #365

DATE: January 31, 2013
PARTIES: Mr. C.B. (the Student) v. UTM

Hearing Date(s): November 19, 2012
Committee Members:
Mr. Tad Brown, Chair
Professor Steven Thorpe
Mr. Andrew Girgis
Secretary:
Ms. Natalie Ramtahal, Coordinator, Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances
Appearances:
For the Student Appellant:
Mr. C.B., the Appellant (“the Student”)
For UTM:
Professor Kelly Hannah-Moffat, Vice Dean, Undergraduate Programs, Teaching and Learning, UTM
Ms. Michelle Daley, Assistant Registrar, UTM
UTM – late withdrawal without academic penalty – Student’s medical disability and family challenges worsened unpredictably – lack of communication between the University’s accessibility centres on different campuses – incomplete options presented to the Student prior to the drop date – cumulative impact of the factors on the Student’s academic performance warranted granting the rare remedy – appeal allowed
Request for late withdrawal without academic penalty for two courses. The Student appealed on medical and compassionate grounds. The Student first enrolled at UTSG on a letter of permission, where he was registered with the Accessibility Services office and provided with accommodations to compensate for disabilities relating to a serious head injury. The Student then enrolled as a visiting student at UTM, where he enrolled in the Courses at issue. The Student also experienced a number of family challenges at the relevant time. The previous decisions of UTM’s Committee on Standing and Academic Appeals Board denied the Student’s appeal, noting that the Student decided to withdraw from one course before the drop date and to remain in the two courses that were the subject of the appeal. The Student provided additional evidence to the Committee in relation to the worsening impact of his brain injury on his studies during the relevant period. The Committee also took into consideration evidence that the full background information and documentation of the Student’s accommodations needs with Accessibilities Services at UTSG was not properly forwarded to UTM’s AccessAbility Resource Centre, and the Student was not appropriately accommodated. The Committee also considered evidence that the options presented to the Student in relation to his academic and financial options were limited, leading the Student to feel that he had little choice but to continue with the Courses despite his recognition of family and medical difficulties. The Committee emphasized that the remedy of late withdrawal without academic penalty is an extraordinary remedy, reserved for rare situations where unexpected and unforeseeable circumstances occur after the drop date, where already existing circumstances become unpredictably worse, or where already existing circumstances do not reasonably resolve. The Committee concluded that the cumulative impact of the Student’s unpredictably worsening disability and unpredictably increased volume of family responsibilities, the incomplete communication between the University’s accessibility centres, and the incomplete list of financial and academic options presented to the Student warranted granting the extraordinary remedy. Appeal allowed.