Report #366

DATE: July 8, 2013
PARTIES: Ms. S.A. (the Student) v. School of Graduate Studies

Hearing Date(s): June 19, 2013
Committee Members:
Professor Andrew Green, Chair
Dr. Avrum Gotlieb
Ms. Mainawati Rambali
Ms. Natalie Ramtahal, Coordinator, Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances
For the Student Appellant:
Ms. S.A., the Appellant (“the Student”)
For the School of Graduate Studies:
Mr. Robert Centa, Counsel
Professor Luc de Nil, Vice-Dean, School of Graduate Studies
Ms. Jane Alderdice, Director, Quality Assurance and Governance, School of Graduate Studies
School of Graduate Studies – request to withdraw Notice of Withdrawal – Student withdrew from program when asked to terminate her registration – Student argued that she did not have adequate advice with respect to her options – Committee found that withdrawal from a program is not a decision about an academic regulation or requirement, bringing an appeal of a withdrawal outside of the Committee’s jurisdiction – appeal dismissed
Request to withdraw Notice of Withdrawal. The Student failed two comprehensive examinations in her Ph.D program, following which the Chair of the program requested termination of the Student’s registration. The Chair provided the Student with the option of voluntary withdrawal from the program rather than termination, and informed her that while termination could be appealed, voluntary withdrawal could not be appealed. The Student submitted a request to withdraw from her program, and it was accepted by the School of Graduate Studies. The Student then notified her program that she was considering an appeal of her withdrawal, arguing that she did not have adequate advice concerning her options at the time of her withdrawal. The Graduate Department Appeals Committee of the program found that there were no grounds to allow the Student’s appeal. The Student subsequently appealed to the Graduate Academic Appeals Board. The GAAB dismissed the appeal, noting that voluntary withdrawal was not a decision within the jurisdiction of the GAAB to decide and that it would also not allow the appeal on the merits. The Student then appealed to the Academic Appeals Committee. The Committee agreed with the GAAB’s decision. A withdrawal is a decision a student can make at any time during a program; it is not a decision about the application of an academic regulation or requirement. An appeal of a withdrawal is therefore a decision outside of the Committee’s jurisdiction, which in turn means that the Committee is precluded from ruling on the merits of the Student’s appeal. The Committee recommended that to the extent they do not currently exist, the University should consider ensuring that options for students to obtain advice on withdrawals are in place and clearly identified to the student at the time withdrawal is considered. Appeal dismissed.