Report #361

DATE: September 29, 2011
PARTIES: University of Toronto v C.O.

Hearing Date(s): June 21, 2011

Committee Members:
Sara Faherty, Chair
Ellen Hodnett, Faculty Member
Kent Kuran, Student Member

Christopher Lang, Director, Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances
Robert Hares, Law Student Observer, Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances

For the Student: C.O. (student)
For UTSC, John Scherk, Vice Dean
For UTSC, the Professor, via audio-video internet connection
For UTSC, Sari Springer, counsel

UTSC – motion for adjournment – motion denied – mid-term exam scheduled the evening of an afternoon hearing did not present a conflict warranting adjournment – re-read of term work – appeal dismissed – Student’s vague assertions do not constitute grounds for reconsideration – visible presence of preliminary estimations of grades do not indicate prejudice nor do they indicate that the final grade assigned is incorrect

Before commencing the hearing, the Student made three requests for an adjournment on the basis that she had a mid-term exam scheduled for later in the same evening. Two requests were made orally the day prior at another hearing. The third request was submitted in writing to the Office of the Governing Council prior to the beginning of the current hearing. Each request was denied on the grounds that a mid-term examination scheduled the evening of an afternoon hearing id not present a conflict that warranted an adjournment. The Chair found no evidence that the hearing was deliberately scheduled to inconvenience the Student. The scheduling process had been long and arduous and in February, 2011, the Student was informed by the Office of Appeals, Discipline, and Faculty Grievances that the hearings would be made peremptory to the Student, meaning no further adjournments would be entertained. The Committee concluded that the Student was provided with adequate notice, that sufficient grounds to warrant an adjournment had not been raised, that the Student’s actual availability to attend the hearing was demonstrated by her presence on campus, and therefore decided to proceed with the hearing in her absence.

The Committee unanimously dismissed the Student’s appeal. The Student made only vague assertions that her work was “in accordance” with the professor’s teaching materials. These assertions were contradicted by the professor’s comments on her work and his testimony. The Student’s assertions do not constitute clear grounds for reconsideration addressing the substance of an answer as required by Divisional policy. The Student’s frustration with having cursory remarks on her course work, and being able to see earlier marks that were higher than the mark finally assigned is understandable. However, the Student’s conclusion that this constitutes proof that her professor was routinely under-evaluating her work is not supported by the evidence. The professor’s practice of leaving traces of preliminary estimation of essays’ grades does not serve as an indication that the final assessment is incorrect. It was unfortunate that earlier marks were still visible to the Student, but this does not support her conclusion that her marks were changed due to prejudice against her, or provide the academic argument defending her answers that is required to justify a re-read under UTSC’s policies. The Student’s belief that the administrators at UTSC are against her is not support by any evidence. There was no evidence that administrators acted improperly when dealing with the Student or her petition.