Friday, March 29, 2013

Glen Moulaison Takes Over my Grade Appeal

I've been telling you the story of my grade appeal in Professor Bush's course, which began in January 2012 when I received an F on this term paper. An "F" is a pretty low grade in the Faculty of Education, and I thought it was a pretty good paper. So I tried to appeal my grade. The Registrar found procedural reasons for ignoring my appeal, but I persisted throughout the winter and spring, writing the University on at least half a dozen occasions seeking leave to appeal. Finally, at the end of the summer, the Registrar agreed to submit my appeal to the Departmental Committee. In October, they returned their verdict: my appeal was denied, and the F would stand.

In theory, I was entitled to one more level of appeal: the Senate Appeals Committee. After many delays and runarounds, I was finally contacted by the Chair of the Committee in November. I asked Blair to provide me with the Departmental Committee's reasons for rejecting my appeal, and he agreed to do so.

This is where it gets interesting. The Departmental Committee balked at Blair's request. Instead, they wanted me to re-submit the term paper. I objected to this. I didn't want them to re-mark the paper: I wanted their reasons for rejecting my appeal. Furthermore, I had initially submitted an original doc file of my assignment. Now they wanted the marked copy including Professor Bush's comments.

I wasn't interested in showing them Professor Bush's reasons for giving me an F. I wanted their reasons. That was the whole idea of the appeal. It's too easy for them to give me an F if they have all the reasons on paper in front of them. I wanted to know what an independent, objective panel would say about my paper on its own merits. That purpose would be completely defeated by handing over Prof. Bush's negative comments.

While this point was being argued back and forth via email, it emerged that in reviewing my grade, the Departmental Committee had neglected to even read the paper that was the subject of the appeal!
What happened next is still a little hard to say. What is known is that a month later, Danny Blair was no longer in charge of my appeal, and his place had been taken by Dean of Arts Glen Moulaison. Moulaison turned out to be a no-nonsense type of guy. Which is to say, he wasn't going to put up with any nonsense from me. On the 31st of January, he wrote me to say that in view of the facts, a meeting of the Senate Committee was not necessary. He was simply going to refer the matter back to the Departmental Committee to have them remark the paper.

I wrote back that I did not find this to be a satisfactory outcome. I wished to present my arguments in person to the Senate Committee; Danny Blair had told me I would be allowed to do so, and that was what I wanted. I did not hear back from Moulaison for three weeks. Then, in response to further prodding, he replied that he was indeed going ahead with setting up a meeting of the Senate Committee, but he had decided that my presence at that meeting was not necessary!

The Senate Committee met two weeks later, and I was subsequently informed that they had, without my presence, acceded to the demand of the Departmental Committee that I provide a copy of the marked assignment with Professor Bush's notes.

In the meantime, the University had obtained a Court Order severely restricting my right to communicate with University staff. I wrote back:

I do not think it was proper for the Senate Committee to have made its decision without allowing me to present my case. Further, I am not comfortable carrying on a protracted discussion via email while I am under the restrictions of the present court order. I therefore do not recognize the legality of the Committee's decision, and wish to dispute it.
Would you therefore send me a link to (or copy of) the relevant University regulations under which the decision was made? As an alternative, perhaps you would suspend the decision and wait until such time as I am no longer under the present restrictions to my freedom of speech, which I anticipate will be sometime in September.
Marty Green

Moulaison wrote back the same day:

Dear Marty,

The decision has been made by the Senate Committee and it has been communicated to you. It requires you to provide the original marked assignment by March 26. If the assignment is not received by that date, no further action will be taken regarding this appeal. The decision as to whether you comply with the Committee's decision is yours to make.

Glenn Moulaison


  1. If you didnt give them the original document, how do they know the re-submitted one wasn't altered?

  2. This is easily verified by any number of means. As I wrote to the Registrar when I submitted my appeal:

    "I am attaching a copy of the final assignment in Prof Bush's course, which I would like to have re-marked. I think you can verify from the date of the file that it is an original copy, that I haven't revised it since handing it in. If there is any doubt, I can present the original afterwards for verification. I don't think this should be an issue."

    In any case, the truthfulness of my submission was never questioned by the University.

  3. Marty, it's hard to know what to make of you. On the one hand, the university's actions, as described by you, seem fishy. On the other hand, it's all too obvious that this is *only* your side of the story-- and even *your* side of the story makes it apparent that you have a habit of acting against your own best interests. Whether you 'win' or 'lose' in Court, you will probably *not* end up getting exactly what you want-- whatever that happens to be.

  4. Hi Ms. Redboots

    I thought I was doing a pretty good job of telling *their* side of the story, but maybe I've been a little careless. I started the blog last winter and at that time it was pretty much a blow-by-blow record of the correspondence between the two parties, admittedly with a little commentary on my part. But when it came to the substantive case against me, I posted exactly what the University was willing to disclose to me at the time. Which wasn't much. Over the course of the past year, I've gotten more of their case in dribs and drabs, but I see now that I haven't posted it in full. So over the next week or so I'm going to try and get up as much of their material as possible. You'll see that their case is still incomplete, and until it is I feel it's not in my best interests to respond with my side of the story. But I don't feel it hurts me to post their side. We'll see what happens.