Report 340

DATE:

January 29, 2010

PARTIES:

M.S., (the Student) v. UTSC

Hearing Date(s):

January 11, 2010

Committee Members:

Prof. Emeritus Ralph Scane, Chair
Kenneth Davy
Min Hee Margaret Kim
Prof. Ronald Kluger
Prof. Elizabeth M. Smyth

Appearances:

For the Student Appellant:

M.S. (the Student)

For the University of Toronto at Scarborough:

Professor John Scherk

Application for leave to file a late appeal. The appeal related to a substantive appeal from a decision approximately four years prior issued by the Subcommittee on Academic Appeals at UTSC. The Student filed a statement with respect to his intended appeal to the Academic Appeals Committee on November 24, 2008. The Committee noted the Terms of Reference which stated appeals must be made within 90 calendar days after the date of the decision. The Committee examined the issue of whether extraordinary circumstances existed which would justify an extension of time. The Student had previously petitioned and been permitted to defer Winter term examinations in 2004 to August, 2004. The Student did poorly in those examinations resulting in low sessional GPAs, affecting the Student’s cumulative GPA. The Student graduated in June, 2008 but found their overall results an impediment to hopes of entering a medical degree or postgraduate program. The Student regarded the 2004 decision to defer examinations rather than seek late withdrawal from the entire program as an error of inexperience compounded by extraordinary stress and worries about student loans. The basis of the Student’s original appeal related to the Student’s arrest and charge with a criminal offence. All charges against the Student were eventually dropped. The Student had always denied involvement with the crimes in question. The Student alleged that the effects of their confinement and arrest, medical problems, and the high degree of stress impeded his ability to function academically when he wrote the deferred examinations. The Subcommittee sympathized with the Student over the situation which it acknowledged the Student had no control, but found the circumstances did not justify granting the requested relief. The Student’s grounds for arguing he should be permitted to proceed with an appeal at a later date were that he discussed the possibility of a further appeal with an academic advisor at UTSC after the initial appeal. The Student also stated that he was too exhausted to fight the University’s decision after the initial appeal. In opposition, UTSC noted that if the substantive appeal were to be granted, the Student’s examination results would have had to be vacated and replaced by a prospective rewrite of the relevant examinations, leaving the Student short of the requisite credits for their degree. The Committee found that this issue was primarily a matter for a panel considering a substantive appeal, but nonetheless considered when determining the application for leave to file a late appeal. The Committee considered that the provision for an extension of time for appeals was intended to protect against situations where appeals were not filed due to mishap or inadvertence, where genuine intention to appeal was formed within the allowed time, or where some major event of illness or other situation prevented or impeded a student’s ability to appeal. The Committee found that these circumstances did not exist in the Student’s case. The Committee noted that the evidence that the Student was given misleading advice regarding his appeal was insufficient to grant the remedy he sought. Appeal dismissed.