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what happens at an academic appeal hearing?
Hearings are open to the public in accordance with s. 9.(1) of the Statutory Powers Procedure Act, R.S.O. 1990, Chap. S.22, as amended. Normally, however, only the individuals who are directly involved in a case will attend the hearing, such as, the three panel members (one legally-qualified Chair, one teaching staff member and one student member); the Student appellant; counsel representing the appellant, if any; the Divisional representative; counsel representing the Division, if any; and a staff member from the ADFG Office.
The Student or Division may request a closed hearing on the Notice of Appeal Form. The reasons for requesting a closed hearing will be reviewed by the Chair at the beginning of the hearing.
Hearings normally begin at 8:45 a.m. or at 1:45 p.m., and are usually held from Monday to Friday. The duration of each appeal hearing is normally approximately 2 - 3 hours, therefore a morning appeal hearing would be booked from 8:45 a.m. to 11:45 p.m., and an afternoon appeal hearing would be booked from 1:45 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. As hearings may take longer, you and the Division should plan to stay longer. The ADFG Office asks that you, the Division and the other attendees bring your calendars to the hearing to facilitate the scheduling of another hearing date and time, should a hearing take longer than the scheduled time.
Hearings before the Academic Appeals Committee (the “Committee”) are informal. The Chair determines how the hearing is run. Hearings do not always proceed in the same manner. Academic appeals hearings generally proceed as follows:
- You or your representative/counsel will have an opportunity to summarize your case.
- The Committee may ask you clarifying questions. The Division's representative may ask you clarifying questions
- The Division's representative will summarize its case and respond to your submissions (it may do so on its own or through counsel).
- The Committee may ask the Division clarifying questions.
- You may ask the Division's representative clarifying questions.
- You can reply to the Division’s response, but only regarding new information that was raised by the Division in its submissions.
- The Committee may ask you clarifying questions.
- The Division's representative may ask you clarifying questions.
The Committee will offer both you and the Division an opportunity to provide concluding remarks.
The Division, the Student and the ADFG staff will leave the hearing room, and the Committee will deliberate in private, and eventually arrive at a decision.
PLEASE NOTE: Any reference to “clarifying questions” should not be mistaken for testimony given by a witness, as witnesses are normally not allowed at academic appeals hearings.
Click here to see "When Will I get a Decision?"
who is going to be at the hearing?
A panel is made up of three people. One teaching staff member, one student member, and a Chair who is legally qualified. The panel is neutral and will know nothing about you or your case other than what is contained in the appeal materials submitted by you and the Division. It will make a determination about your case only after hearing the submissions from you and the Division.
The Division usually selects one or two representatives to attend the hearing.
The Division’s Counsel
The Division sometimes hires legal counsel to represent it in academic appeals matters.
ADFG Staff (as hearing Secretary)
The Director, ADFG or his/her designate serves as the Secretary at each hearing. The Secretary is neutral and does not have a speaking role at the hearing, unless he or she is asked questions by the Chair. The Secretary is responsible for facilitating the hearing procedures. These hearings are not recorded.
The Student (a.k.a. The appellant)
Most students participate virtually. However, in exceptional cases, you can participate in person. The hearing is your opportunity to share your story with the panel, explain the remedy that you are seeking and the circumstances of your case.
Students are permitted to bring friends and family for support, but these individuals are normally not allowed to speak or participate.
NOTE: If a hearing has been confirmed by the Student and/or the Division, but one or neither party attends, the Panel may decide to proceed in the Student or Division's absence, or base its decision using only the written materials submitted by the Student and the Division.
The Student’s Legal Representative
Oftentimes, the legal representatives are law students from DLS, which is a free legal service offered to you should you meet certain criteria. You may also hire legal counsel to represent you in your academic appeal matter.
Normally, witnesses are not allowed at academic appeal hearings as the purpose of these hearings is to review the Division/Faculty’s decision and not retry the case. It is at the discretion of the chair to allow witnesses.