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Dispute Resolution Process
Our goal is to build consensus with students about their academic accommodations so that everyone agrees with the plan about how to proceed. However, there are limits to what we are able to do, and sometimes this results in a dispute.
You can ask about the process of appealing a decision and we’re happy to assist you with it if needed. We do not take this personally, as a secondary review of the situation is part of how we can help support you.
In general, here’s how it works:
- If a decision is made by an SAS advisor, the appeal is typically considered by the Manager of SAS or Associate Director of Student Wellness. These appeals involve three questions:
- Have we received appropriate documentation that describes the student’s abilities? Given that two people with the same diagnosis can have very different experiences, it’s the formal assessment of an individual student’s abilities, by a qualified professional, that shapes our decision-making.
- Do the functional abilities described in the student’s disability-related documentation align with the type of accommodation they are requesting?
- If SAS procedures have caused a delay that disadvantaged the student, is there a way to arrange for additional time for learning, or reschedule delay in an assessment to compensate?
- Appeals are always considered by someone who has not yet reviewed the details of the situation. If the Manager of SAS or Associate Director of Student Wellness were the original decision-makers, then the request for an appeal may be referred to the Director of Student Wellness.
- In some cases, an appeal may require input from a third party with expertise in the type of disability in question. With permission from the student, we will remove identifying information from the documentation, and ask the third party to review it. Their analysis will help inform decisions by SAS/Student Wellness.
- If a decision has been made by a faculty member, then appeals are considered by the Chair of the academic department (undergraduate students) or graduate program coordinator (graduate students). If needed, appeals of those decisions are forwarded to the dean (or designate) and for graduate students to the A.V.P. Graduate Students. These appeals typically involve these three questions:
- Is the requested accommodation possible without reducing bona fide academic requirements (sometimes referred to as “essential learning outcomes”)?
- If there are concerns about the impact on a bona fide academic requirement, what makes that requirement essential or indispensable?
- Is there some other way of accommodating the student’s disability without reducing these academic standards?
- Decisions made by an Academic Review Committee can be appealed to the Senate Committee on Student Petitions.
- In all appeal scenarios, there may also be consideration of undue hardship, which has to do with the cost to the university of an accommodation. We follow guidelines from the Ontario Human Rights Commission on such decisions.
This page is provided to help explain our procedures. In the event of a discrepancy with the policy and procedures approved by U of G Senate, then text from Senate shall prevail.
SAS Welcomes Feedback
SAS is made up of a team of people, and as such, we are committed to learning and improvement.
Periodically, SAS conducts surveys to gather feedback from students who access our services. We know students sometimes feel over-surveyed, so as an alternative we sometimes contribute to surveys conducted by Student Wellness more generally. We also look at data gathered through broader university surveys.
We also routinely receive informal feedback through our conversations with students, and we take note of how this can help us to improve our processes and procedures.
If you have a specific concern, observation or feedback you would like to share, please discuss it with your SAS Advisor, or if you prefer, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Working with an SAS Advisor is like any relationship – it evolves over time. If you have a conversation that doesn’t go so well, we hope you will take the time to discuss your experience with your SAS Advisor. All members of our team have made a commitment to being open to feedback and trying to adapt to the unique needs of each student.
After having a follow-up conversation with your SAS Advisor, if you still feel the issues are unresolved, please email email@example.com so we can connect you with a manager to discuss possible next steps. Regrettably, students are not able to choose their preferred SAS Advisor.
SAS is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion, and we recognize that disability frequently intersects with other identities such as (but not limited to) sexual orientation and gender identity, Indigenous identities, Black and Racialized identities, social class, religion, place of origin, and family status. If you have concerns about your experience of intersecting identities and the services you receive from SAS, again, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to be connected with a manager.
Important: Tests & Exams
If you use the SAS Exam Centre, please remember that all test and exam bookings must be submitted at least 10 BUSINESS DAYS ahead of when you intend to write.
In addition, the last day any bookings can be received is the first business day in November, March or July as appropriate for the semester.