Friday, January 25, 2013

In Which I Make A Fool of Colin Morrison

For several weeks now I had been trying to get the University to acknowledge my grade appeal, with no success. Finally I got an answer...not from the Senate Appeals Committee, or anyone responsible for grade appeals, but from....Colin Morrison, the corporate lawyer! Why would the university have their lawyer contact me in connection with a grade appeal? That I cannot answer, but here is what he told me:

In reply to your question, the power of the Senate pursuant to para.24(2)(h) of the University of Winnipeg Act to “ hear and determine any appeals by students concerning their academic standing that the senate considers appropriate” is delegated by the Senate Standing Rules to the Student Appeals Committee.

That Committee is charged with the responsibility "to hear and resolve all student appeals relating to either decisions of departmental committees, faculty committees, Senate committees, and administrators in respect of ...grades or variances from university procedures and policies..."

The current chair of the Committee is Dr. Blair and you may wish to contact him with respect to your intent to appeal.

Colin Morrison
Was it really necessary to invoke the University of Winnipeg Act when handling a student grade appeal? Yes, I already knew I was supposed to go to the Senate Appeals Committee. The Registrar had told me that three weeks ago. He just hadn't told me how to reach them. At least Colin Morrison had given me a name; but he had still not given me contact information. How was I supposed to find Dr. Blair? So I went back to the regulations and guess what I learned?

It wasn't my job to track down the Chair of the Committee! I only had to notify the Registrar...the guy I had been writing all along, who sent me on the wild goose chase in the first place, and ignored all my subsequent efforts to have my appeal heard. I wrote back:

Contrary to Mr. Morrison's assertion, I find that I have already directed my appeal to the appropriate channels as identified in the University's updated Regulations and Policies, to wit:
"Further Appeal
A student who has reason to believe and can demonstrate that the Departmental Review Committee did not give the appeal a fair hearing may appeal the Committee’s decision on procedural grounds in writing to the Senate Appeals Committee through the Registrar."
I await the Registrar's response to my notification of intent to appeal. If the University wishes to have Dr. Blair contact me directly, that would also be satisfactory; but having already contacted the Registrar as required by the Policy, I reject the suggestion that I am now required to track down Dr. Blair, who is unknown to me. I should note that while I "have reason to believe and can demonstrate that the Departmental Review Committee did not give the appeal a fair hearing", I do not intend to argue the point on "procedural grounds"; furthermore, for reasons well known to the University, I have good reason to believe that I will not be given a fair hearing if I am required to submit my arguments in writing. As stated previously, I am requesting the right to make an oral argument before the Senate in the presence of Prof. Bush.

The Registrar wrote back the very next day, confirming that my appeal had been entered into the system, and I would be contacted shortly by the Chair of the Senate Committee, Prof. Danny Blair.


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