Report #352

DATE: December 8, 2010
PARTIES: Z.M. (the Student) v. UTSC

Hearing Date(s): November 16, 2010

Committee Members:
Professor Markus Dubber, Chair
Professor Christina Kramer
Natalie Melton
Professor Andrea Sass-Kortsak
Gregory West


For the Student Appellant:

Z.M. (the Student)
The Student Appellant’s Father

For the UTSC:
Professor Mark Schmuckler

UTSC – extension of time to write an examination – late withdrawal without academic penalty – medical illness – UTSC Student Medical Certificate – morning exam – afternoon exam – significant medical emergency – UTSC provisions governing special consideration, petitions, and appeals (s. B.7.) – OSAP eligibility – medical certificate accepted by UTSC – face value of the medical certificate – fair application of policies regarding late withdrawal without academic penalty – unanticipated circumstances –– impossibility of original remedy – compelling evidence of a significant medical emergency – grade vacated – retroactive withdrawal without academic penalty – appeal allowed

Appeal of a decision to deny the Student his petition for an extension of time to write a final exam. The Student requested to the Committee in the appeal the remedy of a late withdrawal without academic penalty from the course where the petition for an extension of time to write the final exam was denied. The Student fell seriously ill on the morning of the exam for the course. The Student retrieved a UTSC Student Medical Certificate at noon indicating that he was unable to fulfil academic obligations. The Student then took an afternoon exam, doing well enough to earn a grade of A in the course. The Committee unanimously found that the Student provided compelling evidence of a significant medical or other emergency in support of his request to defer the morning examination as required by the UTSC provisions governing ‘special consideration, petitions, and appeals’ or s. B.7. The Committee rejected the UTSC Subcommittee’s submissions regarding the fact that the Student had taken an exam later in the day and done well on it. The Committee found that the Student could not be reasonably penalized for his decision to take the afternoon exam against a doctor’s advice. The Committee held that UTSC medical certificates are taken by the University at face value and are not challenged. The Committee did not consider the submissions of the Student that the possible effect of taking his exams on his OSAP eligibility relevant to the appeal. The Committee found the remedy of late withdrawal without academic penalty appropriate in this case. The Committee noted that UTSC and the University of Toronto are predisposed against granting late withdrawals without academic penalties. The Committee found, though, that fair application of the UTSC policy required that a late withdrawal without academic penalty be given to the Student as UTSC did not dispute anything in the medical certificate. The Committee noted the exceptional nature of the Student’s case in that the Student sought a late withdrawal without penalty only because the original remedy of taking an exam at a later date had become impossible because the Student had already retaken the course successfully. The Committee found that the impossibility of the original remedy was not due to failure on the Student’s part. The Committee concluded that the Student’s circumstances were not something that should have been anticipated. The Committee vacated the grade in the course and was retroactively allowed to withdraw from the course. Appeal allowed.