Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do if my instructor suspects me of academic misconduct?
Your instructor will call you in for a meeting to express his/her concerns and provide you with an opportunity to explain your side. Be prepared for your meeting with the instructor.

  • Tell the truth.
  • For any piece of course work in question, bring all your rough work, references, assignment instructions, study notes, etc.
  • If your instructor suspects you may have cheated on a test or exam, he/she may “test” your knowledge on the same or similar subject matter. Ensure you are knowledgeable so you can successfully demonstrate your knowledge.
  • If possible, consult with the RSU Student issues & Advocacy Coordinator prior to the meeting.

What happens if I’m charged with academic misconduct?
The mandatory minimum for a penalty is “0″ (zero) on the work and a Disciplinary Notation “DN” will automatically be issued. The instructor might also assign a workshop.A second offence will normally be place the student on Disciplinary Suspension (DS) for a period of from one term to two years.

Can I appeal a charge of academic misconduct?
Yes. You can appeal the following:

  • The charge
  • The penalty/penalties
  • The charge and the penalty/penalties

What is a facilitated discussion?A facilitated discussion is a discussion about the suspected misconduct. Facilitated discussions are meant to be the first part of the academic misconduct process and there are 2 types:

1. A Facilitated Discussion with the Student and Professor: Where only the student and professor attend and discuss the matter at hand in an effort to resolve the solutions

2. A Facilitated Discussion with the Student, Professor and Academic Integrity Officer: At any point before the scheduled date for the facilitated discussion the student or professor can request that the Academic Integrity Officer be present at a Facilitated Discussion. The Academic Integrity Officer’s role is to take notes and act as a non-bias third part witness to the discussion.

Contact: Student Issues & Advocacy Coordinator | | 416-979-5255 ext. 2322

How do I know if I have to submit a standing or grade appeal? A standing appeal challenges your current standing. However, because academic standing depends on overall GPA, it is usually affected by one or more poor grades. Therefore, standing appeals are usually accompanied by a grade appeal, to challenge the grade that caused the change in standing.

Which grounds can I appeal grades and standing on?
Medical: “An appeal may be filed on Medical grounds when an unforeseen medical condition occurs during the term that impacts a student’s ability to meet academic obligations.”Students must submit a fully completed Ryerson Medical Certificate, or a letter on letterhead containing all of the information required by the medical certificate and signed by an appropriate regulated health professional for the applicable period of time, with the signed affidavit portion of the Ryerson Medical Certificate appended.

Students must submit applicable medical documents within three (3*) working days of any test, exam or assignment due date to receive consideration for that work” (Senate Policy 134, IIA1.a/b/c).

Compassionate: “Appeals may be filed on Compassionate grounds when there are events or circumstances beyond the control of, and often unforeseen by, the student, which seriously impair that student’s ability to meet academic obligations. Instructors should have been informed of these circumstances as soon as they affected a student’s ability to complete his/her work so that alternate arrangements could be made.

Students must submit applicable documentation within three (3*) working days of a test, exam or assignment deadline to receive consideration for that work” (Senate Policy 134, IIA2, a/b).

Course Management (only grade appeals): “Appeals may be filed on the ground of Course Management when students believe that a grade has been adversely affected because an instructor has deviated from the Course Management policy of the University or from the course outline, or has demonstrated personal bias or unfair treatment. This is only grounds for grade appeals, not standing.

Students must provide the course outline or policy reference when it is relevant to their appeal, detail where the deviation, or personal bias or unfair treatment occurred and explain how their academic performance was affected.” (Senate Policy 134, IIA3, a/b/c)

Prejudice: “Claims of prejudice are limited to prohibited grounds as defined by the Ontario Human Rights Code (e.g. race, sex, sexual orientation, disability, etc.). Students who believe their grade has been adversely affected by another form of personal bias or unfair treatment should appeal under the ground of Course Management” (Senate Policy 134, IIA4, a).

Procedural Error: “Appeals may be filed on the ground of Procedural Error when it is believed that there has been an error in the procedure followed in the application of either this policy or any applicable policy of the University that has impacted a student’s grade or standing.

Where students claim that an academic regulation or policy was improperly applied or not followed, they must reference both the policy and the alleged error, and explain how this procedural error has affected their academic record. This may include such things as a failure to recalculate a grade or remark an exam, or when a response deadline has been missed” (Senate Policy 134, IIA5, a/b).

What is a grade or standing hearing? At the senate level of your appeal (the third and highest level) you will have the chance to present your appeal to a panel. The panel is composed of the panel chair (a professor), another professor and a student. The appellant (you) can be accompanied by an advocate and the respondent (professor/chair) can be accompanied by a department designate. Each side will have a chance to make a statement and ask questions of each other, followed by questioning by the panel until they feel that they have enough information to make a decision to grant or deny the appeal.

How long does the process take? The process can take anywhere from a month to 3 months (sometimes more) – it depends on how many levels of appeal you go through. Once you submit your appeal package, it would take about ten (10) working days to get a response. Upon receiving a response, if you wish to appeal further, you will have another ten (10) working days to submit an appeal to the next level, and so forth.

Who decides my grade/standing appeal? At the department level, the Chair decides whether to grant or deny the appeal. At the faculty level, the dean will grant or deny the appeal. Except for in rare circumstances (as in the Faculty of Community Services) in both cases, the student does not have a chance to meet with the chair or dean and speak about their issue. At the senate level, the student will have a chance to represent themselves, prepare a statement about their reasons for appeal.

What can I do if my appeal is denied? If you have filed an appeal and it is denied, you have the right to appeal that decision to the next level. If you are appealing a grade, it will always be submitted to the department/faculty where the course is taught (if it is different from that of your program). Standing appeals are submitted to your home department/faculty.

With a grade or appeal, the first level of appeal is at the department level. The second level of appeal is the faculty level and the third and final level of appeal is at the senate level. If your appeal is denied at the senate level, and you truly feel that the outcome has been unfair, then as a last resort, you can contact the Ombudsperson.

Can my Senate appeal be dismissed? Yes. When you submit your senate appeal package, the Secretary of Senate reviews the package and makes recommendations to the ‘pre-hearing’ panel whether the appeal should be dismissed or not. Ultimately, it is the decision of the panel to decide whether the appeal may be heard. If the appeal is dismissed, normally, the student will have a chance to challenge the dismissal by writing a letter to the Secretary of Senate as to why the appeal should be heard.

Why was my Senate appeal dismissed? Most senate level appeals are granted a hearing. The reason why an appeal can be dismissed is when it does not give a convincing argument as to why it should go to the next level (from a faculty appeal), or if it presents the same information that the previous decision was based on and does not provide any new, legitimate evidence to justify reconsidering the previous decision.

How do I know when appeals are due? There are general dates for the university to submit appeals, but it is always important to check with the program department to ensure that the dates are the same. For a listing of university-wide dates, see the Important Dates link.

What if I want to appeal past the deadline? Depending on the circumstances, there may be exceptions. For example, if your grade had been posted after the appeal deadline, and it was not possible to know your grade/standing until then, you have ten (10) working days to submit an appeal.

What is PS? Students are placed on Probationary standing if they have “a cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of 1.00 to 1.99. Students with Probationary standing may not continue their program studies until a Probationary Contract outlining a specific plan for studies and academic supports has been authorized by their program School or Department, and signed by the student. Students who fail to have such a Probationary Contract by the last date to add courses for the semester will have their course registrations and course intention requests cancelled for the term in question and will be Required to Withdraw (RTW) from their program unless their program School or Department determines otherwise” (Senate Policy 46, 2.4.2).

What is RTW? Students who are RTW from their program will not be eligible for reinstatement in their program for 12 months. No student in their first semester at Ryerson will be RTW in December” (Senate Policy 46, 2.4.3).

What is PPW? “Students who are Permanently Withdrawn from a program may not apply for reinstatement into that program. Students who are Permanently Withdrawn from a program may apply to a different program for the Fall semester of the following calendar year” (Senate Policy 46, 2.4.4.).

*Except in extenuating circumstances, however, the instructor should be notified as soon as possible.

 Student Issues & Advocacy Coordinator | | 416-979-5255 ext 2322

Can I be penalized for submitting an appeal?
No. You have the right to file an appeal.

What are my chances?
The success of your appeal will depend entirely on you.  Students who work very hard to compile a complete appeal package are more likely to be successful if they do have valid grounds for an appeal.  Your chances of success depend on your circumstances, the extent to which you followed all relevant policies, your ability to clearly communicate your concerns, and your ability to provide evidence for the claims you make in your letter. Contact the RSU Student Issues & Advocacy Coordinator at any level of an appeal (or prior to an issue arising) to help strengthen your appeal.

Can I continue with my course(s)? Yes. You may continue with all your courses until a final decision has been made. If you are appealing your academic standing you should notify the program department that you have submitted an appeal.  The department is then required to contact the Registrar and Enrolment Services to inform them that you can now register.  Depending on your situation, your home Department will sign a temporary probationary contract with you, and then send it to the registrar through Enrolment Services.  If you are still having trouble registering for courses while you are appealing your standing, contact the RSU Student Issues & Advocacy Coordinator.

What if I have multiple appeals? Visit the Multiple Appeals tab. There is a hierarchy for addressing appeals. If the outcome of one appeal will affect the grounds of another appeal, then appeals may be postponed until that decision is made. Remember to inform the relevant staff people when multiple appeals have been filed.

What can I do if I feel that the rules are not being followed/What do I do if I feel that I am being treated unfairly? The RSU Student Issues & Advocacy Coordinator is here to help students understand policies and procedures and ensure students are adequately resourced. The Office of the Ombudsperson is an autonomous body from the University which is charged with ensuring policies and procedures are followed fairly and accurately, as well as sometimes recommend policies and procedures to ensure fairness. The Ombudsperson is not on the side of students, staff or faculty, but rather a watchperson for fair procedures. Contact: 416-979-5000 ext. 7450 or

 Student Issues & Advocacy Coordinator | | 416-979-5255 ext 2322

Can I be penalized for presenting a complaint? No. It is your right to express your concerns or complaints.

Who should I direct my complaints about an instructor or course to? It is advisable to direct your concerns with your instructor. If you feel uncomfortable you can address them with the Program Chair or Director.

Can I remain anonymous when filing a complaint? Yes. If you are directing your complaints to the program department, chair or director you should indicate your wish to remain anonymous.

Is there a deadline to submit complaints? No. However, by raising your concerns early on, or at the time they occur, you improve your chances for an appropriate resolution.

Contact: Student Issues & Advocacy Coordinator | | 416-979-5255 ext. 2322