Report #341

DATE: July 20, 2010
PARTIES: M.F. (the Student) v. UTSC

Hearing Date(s): June 21, 2010

Committee Members:
Assistant Dean Kate Hilton, Chair
Professor Ellen Hodnett
Dr. Chris Koenig-Woodyard
Professor Louise Lemieux-Charles
Ken Davy

UTSC – extension of time to pay fees – deferred examination – failure to pay deferred examination fee – deferred examination fee deadline – extension of deadline – notified via e-mail – voicemail message – cancelled deferred exam – original failing grade reinstated – UTSC policy on deferred examinations – Student knew or ought to have known about required fee and deadline for payment – appropriate steps for notification – policy applied fairly – unduly harsh policy – outside scope of jurisdiction to assess validity of policy – appeal dismissed

Appeal of a decision of the UTSC Subcommittee on Academic Appeals to deny the Student his petition for a request for a deferred exam. The Student had previously petitioned and was granted a deferred examination for a course. The Student was advised via the University e-mail service that his petition for a deferred examination was successful and that he was required to pay the $70.00 deferred examination fee by a certain date. Records indicate the Student accessed the e-mail services several hours after the notice was posted. The Student failed to pay the examination fee prior to the deadline. A second notice was posted that informed the Student that his payment was overdue and that the deadline had been extended by one week. The notice stated that the deferred exam would be cancelled if the payment was not received by the deadline. A day before the deadline, the UTSC Registrar’s Office phoned the Student’s home and left a voicemail message reminding the Student of the new payment deadline. The Student did not submit payment prior to the second deadline. The deferred exam was cancelled and the Student’s original failing grade in the course was reinstated. The Student’s argued that he had not received the e-mail or voicemail communications from the Registrar’s office. The Subcommittee denied the appeal stating there were no reasonable grounds on which to grant the Student’s appeal. The Committee reviewed the UTSC policy regarding deferred examinations and payment of fees. The Committee found that the deadlines and consequences of failure to pay by the deadlines were clearly set out. The Committee held that the Student knew or ought to have known about the required fee and deadline for payment. The Committee found the Registrar’s Office took all appropriate steps to notify the Student and could not be held responsible. The Committee agreed with the Subcommittee’s submission that the Student’s failure to complete the payment was entirely his own. The Committee noted, though, that the UTSC policy on deferred examinations seemed unduly harsh. The Committee further noted it was outside the Committee’s jurisdiction to assess the validity of the policy. The Committee concluded by inviting UTSC to consider whether the penalty of cancelling a deferred examination and reinstating a failing grade was proportionate to the offence and dismissed the Student’s appeal. Appeal dismissed.