Write Deferred Examination

FILE: Report #325
DATE: April 18, 2008
PARTIES: Mr. F. Z. (the Student) v. UTSC


Hearing Date(s): February 25, 2008

Committee Members:
Ms. Kate Hilton, Chair
Mr. Arya Ghadimi
Professor Glen Jones
Dr. Louise Lemieux-Charles
Professor Michael Marrus

Judicial Affairs Officer:
Ms. Nancy Smart

In Attendance:
Mr. F. Z. (the “Student”)
Mr. Steven Frankel (Representative for the Student)
Professor John Scherk, Interim Vice-Dean, UTSC
Ms. Sherylin Biason, Registrar, UTSC

UTSC – request to write deferred examination – alternative remedies proposed by Student – best efforts to acquire medical evidence in support of illness – no basis for insisting that a student has greater responsibility to provide “solid documents to justify the event” for a missed examination worth 100% of the final grade than a student who misses an examination worth less than 100% – appeal allowed – Student permitted to write deferred examination

Request to write a deferred examination, worth 100% of the final mark in the course. The Student proposed two alternative remedies for the Committee’s consideration: that he be allowed to write a deferred exam with a 15% grade reduction; and that he be allowed to withdraw from the course without academic penalty on the basis of non–attendance. The Student claimed that was ill with a fever on the day of the examination. The Student attempted to see a doctor at the UTSC Health Centre but it was closed. The Student then attempted to seek medical attention off–campus, but as an international student, he could not access free medical care without the University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP) card issued by the University. The Divisional Appeal Committee found that the Student had not made best efforts to acquire medical evidence. The Committee found that the Student had a reasonable expectation that he would have access to the Health Centre, and that the Student discharged his responsibility to obtain medical documentation to the extent possible. The Committee found that since UTSC permits students to concentrate the full weight of their grade on a final examination, there is no basis for insisting that a student who misses an examination worth 100% of his grade has a greater responsibility to provide “solid documents to justify the event” than a student who misses an examination worth less than 100% of the final grade. The Committee allowed the appeal and ordered that the Student be permitted to write a deferred examination in the course. Having granted the original remedy requested, it was not necessary for the Committee to consider the alternative remedies. Appeal allowed.



FILE: Report #324
DATE: March 30, 2008
PARTIES: Mr. D. V. (the Student) v. UTSC

Hearing Date(s): March 14, 2008

Committee Members:
Assistant Dean Bonnie Goldberg, Chair
Professor Ellen Hodnett
Professor Yuki Johnson
Mr Alex Kenjeev
Professor Arthur Ripstein

In Attendance:
Mr. D. V., the Student
Professor John Scherk, Vice Dean, UTSC
Ms Nancy Smart, Judicial Affairs Officer

UTSC – request to defer 12 month academic suspension, write two deferred examinations and re-write a final exam – monetary and personal destabilization – deliberations confined to the remedies that formed part of the decisions under appeal – little evidence provided to support claim that personal circumstances had become worse or did not resolve themselves at time of the petition – little evidence academically that the opportunity to write the finals would have lifted the 12 month suspension – minority opinion that appeal should be allowed based on evidence submitted by Student or alternatively that the Faculty should have given more weight to surrounding circumstances – appeal dismissed.

Request to defer 12 month academic suspension, write two “deferred” examinations and re-write a final examination. The death of the Student’s uncle and aunt, and the requirement that he move out of his aunt’s house, had monetarily and personally destabilized his life. Although not registered, the Student had re–attended classes he had failed, in the hopes that the Committee would retroactively overturn his suspension. The Student submitted several petitions and re–petitions, however the Committee confined its deliberations to the remedies that formed part of the decisions under appeal. The Committee found that it was beyond its jurisdiction to consider retroactively allowing the Student to write the final exams for the courses he was re–attending as a non–registered student and have them count as his grades in the courses. The Committee considered the Student’s personal circumstances and the conflict of these circumstances with the University’s course selection policies, and its method of applying these policies. The Committee found that there was little evidence to support that the Student’s personal circumstances had become worse or did not resolve themselves at the time of the petition to the Divisional Appeal Committee and there was little evidence academically that the opportunity to write the finals would have lifted the Student’s 12 month suspension given how poorly he had performed and given how little work he had done in the courses. The majority of the Committee found that the appeal should be denied. A minority of the Committee would have allowed the appeal on the grounds of the evidence submitted by the Student or, alternatively, that the Faculty’s decision should have given more weight to the surrounding circumstances affecting the Student. Appeal dismissed.



FILE: Report #288
DATE: December 16, 2003
PARTIES: Mr. Y. (the Student) v. UTSC


Hearing Date(s): November 28, 2003

Committee Members:
Professor Ed Morgan, Chair
Mr. Sachin Aggarwal
Dr. Alice Dong
Professor John Furedy
Professor Jake Thiessen

Secretary:
Mr. Paul Holmes, Judicial Affairs Officer

Appearances:

For the Student:
Mr. Y. (the “Student”)
Ms. Erica Toews, Downtown Legal Services
Ms. Marisa Wyse, Downtown Legal Services

For UTSC:
Professor Ian McDonald, Associate Dean, UTSC

UTSC – request to write deferred examination – illness – fourteen prior medical petitions – history of complaints used to assess credibility of claim of illness – claim of illness not credible – no evidence of chronic ailment –medical certificates from different doctors – University heath facilities not visited – minor ailment – could have attended and written exam – de minimis type of illness not sufficient to be considered a disability within Ontario Human Rights Code – appeal dismissed.

Request for a deferred examination. The Student missed both term tests. The final exam was reweighted to constitute 100% of the course grade. The Student did not attend the examination and failed the course. The Student claimed that allergic rhinitis suffered the day of the final examination prevented him from attending and writing the exam. The Student had submitted fourteen prior medical petitions during the course of his four years at UTSC. The Faculty claimed that the Student’s recurrent pattern of behaviour should be taken into account by the Committee. The Committee found that, while each petition must be evaluated on its own merits, the Student’s history of complaints could be looked at in order to help assess the credibility of his claim of illness. The Committee found that the Student’s record of complaints showed no evidence of a single, chronic ailment, that the medical certificates supporting the different petitions came from a variety of doctors, and that the Student had never visited the UTSC Health Centre or the University’s AccessAbility Services. The Committee considered the Student’s medical certificates and the Faculty regulations on deferred examinations and found that the Student suffered from symptoms of a relatively minor ailment and that he could have attended at and should have written the exam on the scheduled date. The Student claimed that his medical condition was a “disability” as defined in the Ontario Human Rights Code, and that the failure of the Faculty to agree to a deferred examination represented a failure to accommodate a person with a disability as required by the Code. The Committee found that there was no evidence that the Student suffered anything beyond a de minimis type of illness and that the ailment was not sufficient to be a disability within the meaning of the Code. Appeal dismissed.



FILE: Report #272
DATE: November 28, 2002
PARTIES: Ms. M.K. (the Student) v. UTSC


Hearing Date(s): November 19, 2002

Committee Members:
Professor Ed Morgan, Chair
Professor Sherwin Desser
Professor Cheryl Misak
Mr. Chris Ramsaroop
Professor John Wedge

Judicial Affairs Officer:
Mr. Paul Holmes

In Attendance:

For the Student:
Ms. M.K. (the Student)
Ms. Soma Choudhury, Downtown Legal Services
Ms. Erica Toews (observing), Faculty of Law

For UTSC:
Professor Ian McDonald, Associate Dean

UTSC – request to write a deferred examination – student visited dying family member abroad – had family member died then conditions for special considerations would be met and petition granted – see Faculty’s policy on deferred exams – reasonable to consider visit to dying family member to be equally appropriate “special circumstance” – no position to predict course of family member’s fatal illness – need to travel abroad a factor beyond Student’s control – Divisional Appeals Committee did not have complete information before it – Divisional Appeals Committee was under mistaken impression that the Student was failing course – error sufficient to undermine fair process – appeal allowed – Student permitted to write deferred examination in course

Request to write deferred examination. The Student claimed that she was unable to write the exam because she had left Canada to visit with her dying grandmother. The Faculty advised the Committee that had the Student’s grandmother died prior to the exam the conditions for special considerations, as described in the Faculty’s policy on deferred exams, would have been met and the Student’s petition would been granted, but that the same conditions were not met for a visit to the grandmother in advance of her death. The Committee found that if a visit abroad in the event of a grandparent’s death constituted an appropriate “special circumstance” for a deferred exam, then it was reasonable to consider a visit to a dying grandparent to be an equally appropriate “special circumstance”. The Student was not in a position to predict the precise course of her grandmother’s fatal illness and her need to travel abroad just prior to the exam was a factor beyond her control. The Committee observed that if the Divisional Appeals Committee had had the complete medical diagnosis of the Student’s grandmother before it when it heard the appeal it may have come to a different conclusion. The Committee found that the Divisional Appeals Committee was under the mistaken impression that the Student was failing the course at the time of her departure from Canada and that the error was sufficient to undermine the fair process of the appeal. The Committee observed that the exercise of the Divisional Appeals Committee’s judgment would be tainted by misinformation about whether the petitioner is passing or failing the course for which special consideration is being requested, and found that the Student had a right to a hearing by the Divisional Appeals Committee with her accurate academic record before it. Appeal allowed. The Committee ordered that the Student be permitted to write a deferred examination in the course.