a) Appeals Process Chronology
*Please note that these timelines are meant as guidelines and that exceptional circumstances may result in longer timelines. All “days” are business days.
Appeal is requested within 15 business days of appellant receiving notice of decision to be appealed.
Request for an appeal is received in the office of the Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS) at email@example.com.
The appeal goes to the respondent (i.e., Dean of Graduate Studies), and the respondent,
based on new information may uphold the appeal.
The Chair and Vice-Chair of the Appeals Committee are notified of the request within 48 hours of receipt of the appeal.
The Chair and Vice-Chair will receive the documents supporting the request for an appeal within two working days of the appeal being received in the FGS offices.
Day 3-6 (2 weeks):
The Chair and Vice-Chair will review the appeal documentation and determine if additional information is required. This request for information will occur within three working days of the Chair receiving the original documentation.
If additional information is required
the appellant will be contacted for additional information. The Chair may also request from the respondent a copy of the evidence used to reach the decision being appealed.
Day 6-15 (3 weeks):
The Chair and Vice-Chair will review the documentation from the appellant and determine if an appeal will be granted. If there are grounds for appeal, the Chair will contact the Respondent to determine if the issue can be resolved without a hearing. If not, the decision of the Chair is sent to the student within 15 business days of the appeal being submitted to the offices of FGS.
If an appeal hearing is to be held, the respondent has 5 business days to provide his or her response and/or supporting documents to the Chair of the Appeal Panel, and provide open times for a hearing to be held in the fourth week after the Chair’s decision.
The appellant and the respondent, and all Appeal Committee Members, have 5 business days to provide open times for a hearing to be held 16 to 20 business days from the Chair’s decision.
The documentation from the respondent must be received by the Chair of the Appeal Panel.
The Chair organizes an appeal panel for the first open date 15 to 20 business days after his or her decision to hold an appeal hearing. Upon receipt of the dates from the respondent and the appellant, the Chair has 5 business days to establish the date of the appeal.
The Chair must receive notification of who will be present at the appeal hearing from the appellant and respondent.
The documentation for the appeal must be received by all members of the appeal panel, the appellant and the respondent.
The appellant or the respondent may challenge the composition of the Appeal Panel.
The appeal is heard.
The Chair communicates the decision of the Appeal Panel to the appellant and the respondent.
b) Appeal Document
Within 15 business days of receiving a decision from the Dean of Graduate Studies or his/her designate, the student must submit an appeal in writing to the Chair of the Faculty of Graduate Studies Appeals Committee, through the Office of the Dean of Graduate Studies. In exceptional circumstances, a longer timeframe may be allowed.
If the decision of the Dean of Graduate Studies was made in response to a decision made within a teaching faculty, and that decision is being appealed within the teaching faculty, the Dean’s decision is suspended while the appeal is held in the teaching faculty. The matter will remain in abeyance until the Dean is notified of the decision of the appeals committee of the teaching faculty.
The appeal document is a written statement providing full particulars of the decision being appealed and the remedies sought and must include:
- The FGS decision being appealed
- The specific grounds for the appeal, which are limited to:
2. Unfair practices or flawed procedures
3. That the Dean’s decision was unduly harsh
4. Substantial new evidence that was not available during previous consideration of the matter appealed
- All relevant information including evidence substantiating the grounds for the appeal
- A description of any steps that have been taken to resolve the issue
- The remedy sought
- Contact information for the appellant
- Documentation, if applicable.
It is the responsibility of the appellant to submit in writing all relevant information available to him/her so that it can be considered at an appeal hearing.
c) Chair’s Action UPDATED Mar-1-2012
Within five business days of receiving the appeal document(s), the Chair will review the appellant’s document(s) and assess whether there is sufficient or appropriate information to determine whether the FGS Appeals Committee has the jurisdiction to hear the appeal, and whether the appeal shall be heard. If the Chair decides that the appellant has not provided sufficient or appropriate information because of conditions that limited the appellant’s understanding of the FGS procedures manual, or ability to gather the information within the required time frame, the Chair will request further information from the student. The Chair has the right to request documentation that clarifies the grounds for the appeal such as a more detailed description of the specific processes that are being appealed, the steps that have been taken to resolve the decision being appealed, and the processes followed by the respondent in reaching a decision. The Chair also may request the evidence upon which the respondent reached a decision if it is not included in the appellant’s documents. This request will be made through the appropriate office of FGS, and the Chair will not communicate directly with the appellant or the respondent. The Chair shall not request information that would unduly bias the appeal process for either the appellant or the respondent.
Within five business days of receipt of the appeal document, and any additional requests for information from the Chair of the Appeals Committee, the Chair and Vice Chair of the Faculty of Graduate Studies Appeals Committee shall determine whether or not the FGS Appeals Committee has the jurisdiction to hear an appeal.
Grounds for hearing an appeal are limited to:
- Unfair practices or procedures
- That the Dean’s decision was unduly harsh
- Substantial new evidence that was not available during previous consideration of the matter appealed.
With natural justice as a guiding principle, if there is any doubt, an appeal shall be heard.
Grounds for denying an appeal include:
- The decision being appealed does not fall within the jurisdiction of the Faculty of Graduate Studies
- The decision being appealed is not clearly and fully stated in writing
- Approved grounds for an appeal have not been stated
- Mere dissatisfaction with a ruling.
If a hearing is denied, the Chair must advise the student that a denial of an appeal hearing may be appealed to the General Faculties Council’s Committee to Hear and Determine Student Academic Appeals within fifteen days of receiving the Faculty of Graduate Studies Appeals Committee’s decision.
The Chair’s decision must be copied to the Dean of Graduate Studies, the Department or Program Head of the student’s program, the Graduate Program Directors of the student’s program, and any other party involved.
d) Response to Appeal
If an appeal is to be heard, at the same time that the student is notified, the Chair asks the Dean of Graduate Studies to submit a response to the appeal within 5 business days.
e) Scheduling an Appeal Hearing
If an appeal is to be heard, the Chair organizes an Appeal Panel from amongst members of the Appeals Committee ensuring, as far as possible, that the Panel members involved are free of perceived conflict of interest. Conflict of interest would include:
- Having been party to the decision being appealed at a lower level
- Having a working relationship with the student or student’s supervisor
- Having a current teaching relationship with the student.
If a member of the Appeal Panel declares a conflict of interest, or if the Chair considers that a member might appear to be placed in a conflict of interest by hearing the appeal, the Chair may nominate a substitute member from amongst members of the Appeals Committee, the other members of Faculty of Graduate Studies Council, or from amongst those who have been members of the Faculty of Graduate Studies Council in the past five years. In the case of the GSA member, the GSA may nominate any member of the Graduate Representative Council, who is not in the same teaching faculty as the appellant, as a substitute.
The Chair of the Appeals Committee normally chairs an Appeal Panel.
An appellant or the Dean of Graduate Studies has the right to challenge, for cause, any member of the Appeal Panel no later than five business days before the date set for the hearing. The Chair of the Appeals Committee shall judge the validity of the challenge. Such cause may include current or past teacher/student relationships, evidence of bias, or any other such factor likely to prejudice a fair hearing. The composition of the Appeal Panel may not be challenged once the hearing is begun.
If the Chair is challenged, the Appeal Panel will judge the validity of the challenge.
f) Date of Appeal Hearing
Whenever possible, the Chair must schedule an appeal hearing to be held within fifteen business days of the decision to hear an appeal. All members of the Appeal Panel nominated to hear the appeal must be in attendance at the hearing. The hearing should be scheduled so that both the appellant and respondent can attend. However, if circumstances dictate that either the appellant or the respondent, or both, cannot attend, the hearing may proceed on the basis of the written submissions, so long as it can be shown that the absent appellant or respondent received adequate notice of the hearing. In exceptional circumstances, for example if the appellant is out of the country, the appellant would not be expected to attend. In exceptional circumstances, the Chair may allow the appellant to nominate a representative to attend on his or her behalf.
g) Distribution of Documentation
The Chair is responsible for ensuring that there is a full exchange of documentation, including the appeal, the response, the approved procedures, the panel composition and the names of those who will be in attendance at the hearing. All documentation must be in the hands of members of the Appeal Panel, the appellant and the respondent a minimum of five business days before the hearing.
h) Additional Material
The Chair will enter the documents submitted for the hearing into the record at the beginning of the hearing. If one of the parties to the hearing requests that additional documents be accepted during the hearing, the Chair may rule to accept or not to accept, or ask the Panel to make a ruling.
i) Support for Appellant and Respondent
The appellant and the respondent must notify the Chair of the Appeals Committee who will be present at the hearing to assist no later than ten business days before the hearing is scheduled to take place so that this information can be distributed, along with the documentation, to all involved in the hearing.The person invited to assist the appellant or the respondent may offer advice, however the appellant and the respondent should present their cases themselves.
Each party to the appeal may invite a reasonable number of witnesses. It is the responsibility of the party issuing the invitation to make all arrangements for the attendance of a witness. The Chair of the Appeals Committee must be notified of the attendance of any witnesses no later than ten business days before the hearing is scheduled to take place so that this information can be distributed, along with the documentation, to all involved in the hearing.
k) Committee Support
The Chair of the Appeals Committee may invite an individual to assist the Appeal Panel.
l) Confidential Documents
The appellant or the respondent to an appeal may request that the Panel consider a confidential document without divulging its specific contents to the other party because of overriding interests of privilege, confidentiality or otherwise. The Panel shall, in such cases, only consider the confidential material if the other party to the appeal (the appellant or the respondent) can be reasonably and fairly appraised of the general nature of the contents.