Report #384

DATE: June 23, 2016

PARTIES: Mr. A.P. (the Student) v. the Faculty of Arts and Science
Hearing Date(s): May 27, 2016
Committee Members:
Professor Malcolm Thorburn, Chair
Professor Avrum Gottlieb
Mr. Faizan Akbani
Secretaries:
Mr. Christopher Lang, Director, and Ms. Krista Osbourne, Administrative Assistant, Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances
Appearances:
For the Student Appellant:
Mr. Alex Redinger, Downtown Legal Services
Ms. Ejona Xega, Observer, Downtown Legal Services
Ms. Melanie Warren, Social Work Student, Downtown Legal Services
For the Faculty of Arts and Science:
Mr. Robert A. Centa, Counsel
Professor Adrienne Hood, Associate Professor, Department of History and Acting Associate Dean, Undergraduate, Faculty of Arts and Science
Ms. Shelley Cornack, Registrar, University College
Mr. Michael Nicholson, Coordinator, Student Academic Progress, Office of the Assistant Vice President
Faculty of Arts and Science – delay in filing petition – late withdrawal without academic penalty – request to re-write an examination – anxiety issues – Student’s particular health issues did not preclude him from checking his email or from filing an appeal in a timely manner, especially given that the Student was aware that an important decision was to be released, that the Student had prior experience with these academic processes, and that there is an obligation on students to check their emails regularly – appeal dismissed
Appeal from the Academic Appeals Board’s decision rejecting the Student’s request for a second consideration of his earlier petition for an extension of time for filing an appeal of the decision of the Faculty’s Committee on Standing (CS), which had rejected the Student’s petition requesting a re-write of his final examination in one course and late withdrawal without academic penalty from six other courses.
The Student did not withdraw from the six courses at issue before the drop date, and he subsequently missed the deadline for withdrawal through the LWD process (the last day of classes). The CS denied the Student’s petition for late withdrawal on its merits, stating that he did not present appropriate documentation nor compelling reasons why he could not withdraw in a timely manner. The CS also denied the Student’s petition for a re-write of an examination in another course, noting that this was not an available remedy for the course. The Student indicated his intent to appeal this decision, but he did not do so within the 90-day deadline. Nine months after the CS decision, the Student filed a petition requesting additional time to file an appeal. This petition was denied because of the delay.
The Student then filed a petition to the AAB for another consideration of his request for an extension to appeal the CS’s decision. The AAB denied the petition, stating that though the Student had provided evidence for a chronic health issue, the AAB did not find compelling evidence to support the Student’s assertion that was unable to check his email around the time that the CS released the decision and that he was therefore only aware of the decision after the 90-day window had passed.
The Student then appealed to the Academic Appeals Committee. At issue in the appeal was the Student’s delays in filing his petitions. The Student did not deny that he was late; rather, he argued that his delays at each stage were reasonable given his particular health problems. The Committee took into account the fact that the Student withdrew from another course in determining that it was not reasonable for the Student not to withdraw from the six courses in a timely manner. Further, the Committee took into account the Student’s correspondence with University administrators in determining that though his anxiety would make it more difficult for him to draft an appeal, it was still reasonable to expect him to send an email asking for an extension of time to file an appeal. The Committee concluded that the AAB was reasonable in its determination that the Student’s anxiety and associated problems did not preclude him from checking his email or from filing an appeal in a timely manner, especially given the fact that the Student was aware of the fact that an important decision was to be released, that he had prior experience with these academic processes, and that students have an obligation to check their emails regularly. Appeal dismissed.