Report #347

DATE: October 4, 2010
PARTIES: L.L. (the Student) v. University of Toronto

Hearing Date(s): June 25, 2010

Committee Members:
Professor Ed Morgan, Chair
Professor Ronald Kluger
Professor Louise Lemieux-Charles
Andrew Agnew-Iler
Jemy Joseph


For the Student Appellant:
L.L. (the Student)
Deidre Neman, Counsel for the Student

For the University of Toronto:
Sari Spring, Cassels Brock Lawyers, Counsel for the University
Professor Arlene Gehmacher, Course Instructor
Professor Anne-Marie Brousseau, the Associate Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Elaine Ishibashi, Associate Faculty Registrar, Petitions

University of Toronto – extension of time to complete coursework – Accessibility Services – reasonable accommodation – medical issues – no medical certificate – negotiated accommodations – Faculty rules for extensions of time to complete coursework – financial matters – Student’s responsibility to attend to financial aid matters – reasonable accommodation made for the Student – appeal dismissed

Appeal of a decision to deny the Student their petition for an extension of time to complete term coursework in a course. The Course Instructor was notified approximately a month after the beginning of the course that the Student was registered with Accessibility Services and was entitled to certain accommodations including extensions for assignments. Accessibility Services had noted that the Student should not be given open-ended deadlines. The Student and the Course Instructor exchanged several e-mails regarding an upcoming project of the Student. During this correspondence, the Student never requested an extension of time. The Student was notified approximately fourteen days before the due date, and again one day before the due date that the coursework was due. Shortly before midnight of the due date, the Student replied to the Course Instructor’s e-mail and requested an extension until the end of the month due to medical reasons. The Course Instructor followed up replying that a doctor’s note would be necessary to verify the medical condition and indicated that if accessibility issues were a factor the Course Instructor would authorize an extension. In the subsequent meeting with the Course Instructor, the Student failed to provide a doctor’s note to the Course Instructor. Despite this, an extension was granted. After this initial meeting, a series of four subsequent requests for extensions were granted by the Course Instructor. The Student then petitioned the Registrar to the Committee on Standing requesting a further extension. The Student’s coursework was not submitted by this deadline. The coursework was ultimately not submitted by the deadline but some four months after the initial due date, after the academic term had ended. The Committee disagreed with the Student’s argument that their needs were not reasonably accommodated. The Committee also found that, as the term was over, there was no provision for submitting term work as the term had ended. The Committee held the Course Instructor could not have given a further extension under Faculty rules. The Committee heard that the Student also had financial matters, specifically, financial aid concerns, that contributed to their failure to meet the deadline. The Committee found that it was the Student’s responsibility to attend to their financial aid matters in a timely manner, and that the real issue to be decided by the Committee was whether the accommodation required by Accessibility Services was granted to the Student. The Committee found every effort was made to make such accommodation. Appeal dismissed.