Procedure for an Appeal to the Senate Appeals Committee

Proceedings of the Senate Appeals Committee due to COVID-19: Please note that all meetings of the Senate Appeals Committee are taking place via Zoom until further notice.

Before you can appeal to the Senate Appeals Committee (the Committee), you must first have submitted an appeal to your academic unit and have received a final decision from that unit.  If you decide to appeal your unit’s decision, you must file your appeal with us within 10 working days of receiving that decision.

Please note: The Committee cannot change the mark you receive in a course or on a specific exam, assignment, or any other type of evaluation. Similarly, the Committee cannot comment on or change the content of an exam, assignment, or any other type of evaluation.

For more information on what the Committee is empowered to do, please see: https://www.uottawa.ca/administration-and-governance/senate/committees/senate-appeals-committee.

1 —Commencing an appeal

  • To commence an appeal with the Committee:
    1. complete the Submission Form;
    2. obtain copies of any and all documentation you need to support your appeal (e.g. medical certificate);
    3. write a cover letter that briefly summarizes the situation, sets out the grounds for the appeal, and identifies the specific solution you are seeking. Essentially, this letter must clearly and succinctly explain the reasons why the academic unit’s decision should be reversed or modified, as well as what you are asking the Committee to do to rectify the situation; and
    4. email the form, your cover letter, and copies of all supporting documentationto the Office of the Secretary-General (the Office).
  • You are responsible for submitting a complete case file to the Committee. Do not rely on the Faculty to submit documents required for the appeal.
  • The Submission Form must be duly completed to initiate the appeals process.
  • As soon as you submit the complete case file to the Committee, a copy of the case file is sent to the Faculty, which then has 15 working days to submit comments in response.
  • Once the Faculty has submitted its comments to the Office, you will be sent a copy of the Faculty’s comments.You will have 15 working days to email a brief response to the Faculty’s comments.Please note, it is not necessary to repeat the reasons for the appeal set out in your cover letter, nor should you introduce new evidence. Rather, this is your opportunity to respond to any new issues raised in the Faculty’s comments.Email your response to uosec.appels@uottawa.ca.
  • Once the 15-day period for you to respond to the Faculty’s comments has expired, the Office of the Secretary-General will then submit the complete case file to the Committee.

2 —Commencing an appeal after the deadline

  • If more than 10 working days has elapsed since you received the academic unit’s decision, you must ask the Committee for permission to file your appeal past the deadline. To do so, you must submit both (1) the complete case file (as set out in Part 1 of this procedure) and (2) a letter justifying why you were unable to file your appeal before the deadline expired.
  • The letter of justification will be submitted to the Committee, which will decide whether or not to hear the appeal despite the delay. The decision to hear the appeal is entirely at the Committee’s discretion and will only be taken when the circumstances justify such action.
  • If the Committee decides that the justification for the delay is insufficient, the appeal will not be heard and the Faculty’s decision will remain in effect.
  • If the Committee accepts the justification for the delay, the appeal will proceed in accordance with Part 3 of this procedure.
  • The decision on the justification for the delay will be based solely on written evidence; you will not be allowed to present oral arguments to explain the delay to the Committee.

3 — The appeal’s hearing

  • Once all the steps outlined above are complete, the appeal will be put on the Committee’s agenda. The Committee normally meets every other Friday morning. The Office will contact the Student to set the date and time for hearing the appeal.
  • The Student may present their appeal to the Committee in person and may be accompanied by a person of the Student’s choice.
  • The Student will be invited to present their case and answer questions from Committee members. 
  • In general, Committee meetings are held in person but exceptionally may be held virtually. If the Student requests their case be heard in person, the hearing may be postponed to a future date to be determined by the Committee. COVID-19: Please note that all meetings of the Senate Appeals Committee are currently taking place via Zoom until further notice.
  • The Faculty in question does not present their case before the Committee. However, the Committee reserves the right to contact a Faculty representative to obtain further information or clarification, if this is necessary to render a decision. If such is the case, the Committee will delay its decision, inform you of the delay, and invite you to respond to any further information supplied by the Faculty.
  • At the time of scheduling the hearing, the case file must be complete and contain all the documents and information that you want the Committee to consider before making its decision. The Committee reserves the right to refuse the submission of any additional documents or information once the case file is complete or the hearing has begun.
  • Normally, the Committee will make a decision on the day of the hearing or in the next two or three business days following the hearing.
  • You will be notified of the Committee’s decision by email. A copy of the decision will also be sent to the Faculty and your representative (Student Rights Centre or legal counsel), if applicable.
  • The Committee’s decisions are final and cannot be appealed.

4 - General information

  • The Chair of the Committee has the discretionary power to deny an appeal if, once the case file has been received, the Chair determines that the Committee does not have jurisdiction, in light of the Committee’s mandate. In principle, such a decision must only be taken when the situation clearly justifies it; if in doubt, the Chair must err on the side of caution and ask the Committee to hear the case.
  • You have the right to be accompanied by a representative during the hearing (for example, the Student may attend the hearing with a member of the Student Rights Centre, a lawyer, or a paralegal). In such cases, you must send the name and contact information of the your representative to the Office as soon as possible and ensure that the representative is cc’d on all future communications with the Office. Moreover, to ensure that the Office can communicate with the representative directly, you must submit a duly completed Third-Party Authorization Form to Release Student Information (PDF) to the Office. You will be cc’d on all communications between the representative and the Office.
  • If you decide to withdraw your appeal at any time during the proceedings, you must notify the Office in writing. Otherwise, the appeals process will follow its normal course and the Committee will make a decision regarding the appeal.
  • In accordance with its policy, the University of Ottawa sends all email correspondence to its students through the students’ official uOttawa email account (@uOttawa.ca). You are responsible for regularly checking your University email account.

5 — Contact information for the Office of the Secretary General

Office of the Secretary General
Tabaret Hall
550 Cumberland Street, Room 206
Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5
Tel.: (613) 562-5950

Email address: uosecapp@uottawa.ca


Approved by the Senate Appeals Committee on March 26, 2021.

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