Report #281

DATE: July 25, 2003
PARTIES: Ms. M. (The Student) v. UTSC

Hearing Date(s): June 12, 2003

Committee Members:
Assistant Dean Jane Kidner, Acting Chairperson
Professor Phil Byer
Professor John Furedy
Professor Ellen Hodnett
Ms. Durré Hannif

Mr. Paul Holmes, Judicial Affairs Officer

In Attendance:

For the Appellant:

Ms. M., the Appellant (“the Student”)
Ms. Erica Toews, DLS Student Counsel for the Appellant
Mr. Usman Sheikh, DLS student observer

Professor Ian McDonald

UTSC – late withdrawal without academic penalty and deferral of three–year suspension – harassment – death of family member – depression – poor academic performance prior to death in family – aware of counseling services available – past harassment not a factor in poor performance – graduation requirements – exam performance affected by death in family – Faculty would have allowed remedy of rewriting final exams – re-write of final examinations granted – appeal allowed in part – request for late withdrawal without academic penalty dismissed – request for deferral of three–year suspension dismissed - Student permitted to re-write final examinations in any or all of the courses

Request for late withdrawal without academic penalty from three courses and the deferral of the three–year suspension, on medical and compassionate grounds. The Student failed the three courses and she was placed on the three–year suspension. The Student required 0.5 FCEs to graduate. The Student claimed that she was harassed on a regular basis by four students and that as a result she suffered physical and mental symptoms. The Student did not seek academic counseling nor did she attempt to drop any of her courses as recommended by the Faculty. The Student claimed that as a result of the death of her grandfather she suffered a depression which affected her performance on the final exams in the three courses. The Committee considered the medical documentation presented and the past history of the Student, including her evidence of past harassment. The Committee found that although the Student’s academic performance may have been affected by her grandfather’s death, she was performing poorly in the three courses prior to her grandfather’s death. The Student was aware of her academic situation and the counseling services offered but chose not to avail herself of them. The Committee found that the harassment was not a factor in her poor performance for the three courses in question. The Committee considered the Student’s graduation requirements, the negative impact that her grandfather’s death may have had on her exam performance, and the Faculty’s willingness to have allowed the Student to re-write her final exams had she requested to, and found that the Student should be permitted to re-write the final examinations in the three courses. Appeal allowed in part. Request for retroactive late withdrawal from the three courses denied. Request for a deferral of the three–year suspension denied. The Committee ordered that the Student could elect to re-write the final examinations in any or all of the three courses. In default of timely notification, the Student was deemed to have elected not to pursue the remedy.