Report 367

DATE:

October 7, 2013

PARTIES:

Mr. A.K.D. (the Student) v. the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering

Hearing Date(s):

September 11, 2013

Committee Members:

Professor Hamish Stewart, Chair
Professor Elizabeth Cowper
Mr. Andrew Girgis

Secretary:

Ms. Natalie Ramtahal, Coordinator, Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances

Appearances:

For the Student Appellant:

Mr. A.K.D., the Appellant (“the Student”)

For the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering:

Professor Thomas Coyle, Chair of the Committee on Examinations
Mr. Khuong Doan, Associate Registrar, Student Services

Appeal from an academic status of “Refused Further Registration.” Student performed so poorly in his program that he had been refused registration for the following term. Student petitioned the Faculty for special consideration on the ground that he might have been suffering from ADHD. Student sought reinstatement into the program or, in the alternative, a waiver of the rule that had resulted in his being refused further registration. This petition was dismissed for want of adequate documentation. The Student then submitted a revised petition with additional documentation concerning his ADHD diagnosis and the course of treatment he was pursuing. The Faculty allowed the petition in part, effectively granting the Student his alternative remedy. The Faculty changed the Student’s academic status from “Refused Further Registration” to “Academic Repeat Probation – Withdraw for eight months,” which would allow the Student to re-enroll two semesters later than he requested. The Faculty did not give any reasons for refusing to reinstate the Student, or for granting the alternative remedy. The Student then submitted another petition to the Faculty, with supporting documentation indicating that he had been attending classes throughout the semester in the hope of being reinstated.

Student then appealed from the Faculty’s decision to the Academic Appeals Board, claiming that his condition had stabilized and drawing the AAB’s attention to his immigration and financial difficulties as well as alleged procedural irregularities in the Faculty’s process. Student sought credit for two of the courses he had been attending, and an opportunity to obtain credit for the remaining three courses through deferred examinations. The AAB obtained term work reports from the instructors in the courses that the Student had attended, which mostly indicated poor performance. The AAB concluded that the Faculty’s decision was fair and reasonable; reinstatement in the requested term was not appropriate given the timeline of the evidence submitted.

Student then appealed to the Committee. The Committee concluded that the Faculty erred in failing to provide written reasons for its decision, but stated that this error did not affect the outcome of the appeal as the AAB provided reasons, which were the basis of the appeal to the Committee. The Committee also noted that it is the Student’s responsibility to make his or her case for a remedy in the appeal process; the Faculty cannot direct students as to what information to provide given the confidential nature of such information. The Committee agreed with the AAB that the Student’s situation fell well outside the circumstances in which a deferred examination, aegrotat standing, or assessment of grades would be given. To grant one of these remedies in this situation would have been highly unusual given that the Student was not enrolled in the courses and the basis for assessing his performance was very thin. The Committee also noted that the medical evidence did not strongly support the Student’s assertion that his treatment had been successful. The Committee concluded that the AAB’s decision was reasonable. Appeal dismissed.

The Committee also denied the Faculty’s request to redact the names of all of the Faculty’s faculty and staff who were involved in the student’s case, noting that the fact that an individual was acting in an official or institutional capacity is not by itself a reason for redacting that person’s name. The Committee noted that it might look more favourably on such a motion where there was some allegation concerning personal misconduct by a member of the faculty or staff, particularly if the Committee found that allegation to be unfounded.