Report #371

DATE: March 27, 2014
PARTIES: Mr. C.D. (the Student) v. the School of Graduate Studies

Hearing Date(s): N/A (appeal conducted on the basis of written submissions to determine jurisdiction)
Committee Members:
Professor Hamish Stewart (Chair)
School of Graduate Studies – grade appeal – jurisdiction – Student contested the policy applied to convert his grade from a University study abroad program – Student’s petition was about the fairness of the Faculty’s procedure itself, not about the fairness of the procedure’s application – Committee has no jurisdiction over the fairness of Faculty policy – appeal dismissed
Request to remove or change a grade assignment, involving a jurisdiction determination. The Student participated in the Summer Abroad France program, for which students receive a University of Toronto undergraduate credit (not a transfer credit). The Student’s mark was graded out of 20; it was multiplied by five to convert it into a mark out of 100 to make it consistent with the University’s grading scale. Student was dissatisfied with the conversion of his grade. The Student petitioned the Faculty, arguing that the conversion formula did not adequately reflect the difference between French and U of T grading methods and, moreover, that the conversion formula was inconsistent with the agreement that he and other students had consented to by participating in the program. The Faculty dismissed the Student’s petition, rejecting the Student’s contention of inconsistency between the conversion formula used and that outlined in the course description, and noting that that the discrepancy between French and U of T methods did not apply to language courses aimed at international students. The Student then appealed to the Academic Appeals Committee (AAC), requesting a change or removal of the numerical grade assignment. The Faculty submitted that the AAC lacked jurisdiction over the appeal. The Committee cannot assess academic work and assign a grade; it can only determine if a policy was applied fairly and consistently. The Committee found that the Student’s appeal was about the fairness of the procedure, not about the fairness of the procedure’s application to the Student. The Student was arguing that the conversion formula was a bad policy, and Committee emphasized that it has no jurisdiction over the fairness of the Faculty policy itself. The Committee also found that the Faculty’s reasons for dismissing the Student’s petition adequately addressed the Student’s concerns, both procedurally and substantively, and noted that the Faculty is entitled to rely on earlier responses sent to the Student. Appeal dismissed.