Report #378

DATE: July 3, 2015
PARTIES: Ms. V.O. (the Student) v. the University of Toronto at Mississauga (UTM)

Hearing Date(s): May 26, 2015
Committee Members:
Ms. Emily Orchard, Chair
Professor Elizabeth Smyth
Ms. Susan Froom
Secretary:
Mr. Christopher Lang, Director, Office of Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances
Appearances:
For the Student Appellant:
Ms. V.O., the Appellant (“the Student”)
For UTM:
Ms. Michelle Kraus, Office of the Registrar, Petitions, UTM
Professor Kelly Hannah-Moffat, Vice-Dean Undergraduate, UTM
UTM – exemption from program requirements – Student’s CGPA was below the minimum threshold to graduate with an Honours degree – mere hard work and personal preference do not justify waiving a fundamental degree requirement – appeal dismissed
Request to graduate with an Honours degree despite not meeting the degree requirement of a CGPA of at least 1.85. After a lengthy history of poor academic performance, the Student graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, and then enrolled in a graduate program. The Student appealed her ineligibility to earn an Honours degree to the Academic Appeals Subcommittee, which concluded that the Student did not have a compelling case to justify an exemption from University regulations.
The Student then appealed to the Academic Appeals Committee. The Committee noted that the Office of the Registrar had informed the Student before graduating and at each stage of the appeal process that she could raise her CGPA to the requirements by enrolling in 2.0 credits and attaining a final grade of 77 percent. The Student therefore had the ability to graduate with an Honours degree at any time she wished. The Committee took into account the contradiction between the Student’s submissions that she did not want her failure to earn an Honours degree to affect her career and her simultaneous unwillingness to invest the time and effort to earn said degree. The Committee concluded that waiving the minimum threshold to be granted an Honours degree would be an extremely rare occurrence, and emphasized that hard work alone cannot be the basis upon which the Committee grants a petition to waive a fundamental degree requirement. Similarly, the Student’s desire to move on with life and her preference to take more specialized courses did not justify granting the extraordinary relief. Appeal dismissed.