Academic Advocacy

Academic policies, appeals, offences and codes of conduct can be confusing to navigate. That’s where your students’ union can assist. Thee UTMSU can guide you through the university’s policies and procedures and work to protect your rights as a student. When you want academic advice, need to appeal grades, are academic misconduct, or other issues with the University, the UTMSU is here to assist you through the process.

The Academic Advocacy Coordinator provides free student support related to:

  • Academic offences and appeals
  • Academic and course advice
  • Code of Conduct offences
  • Challenging and implementing new policies at both divisional and central levels of UofT governance
  • Protecting students whose rights have been infringed upon

For more information please email academic@utmsu.ca to schedule an appointment (currently our in-office hours are closed due to the campus closure).

Academic Advocacy Coordinator – academic@utmsu.ca

VP University Affairs and Academics – vpua@utmsu.ca

For additional academic support related to research methodology, editing, citations, writing workshops and more, please visit the Robert Gillespie Academic Skills Centre.

Academic Offence FAQ

After your meeting with your prof, it may take anywhere from a week, to a month for the university to contact you regarding your case.

Yes. Unfortunately, lack of knowledge of an offence is not a valid defence under The Code of Behaviour on Academic Measures.

Yes, the university will consider your past academic offences when deciding your penalty.

You can only get expelled if you plead innocent and are found guilty at the third level Tribunal meeting.

In 90% of cases no. You only need a lawyer if you are going to the third level tribunal meeting.

The university is typically very understanding when it comes to mistakes. However, that does not mean you won’t be penalized. Unfortunately, it does not matter if it was a mistake, if the offence is committed your professor is obligated to alert the Dean/ Academic Integrity Office.

General Academics FAQ

You may request your final grade from your professor however they are not obligated to provide it to you and may decline.

Yes, you absolutely can. 

A CGPA of 1.5 or higher is needed to not be on probation.

AGPA is your GPA for a single calendar year. CGPA is your GPA for all courses you have ever taken since starting at UofT.

Introducing: Know Your Academics

Introducing our new campaign Know Your Academics! Every week we will be posting FAQs, Deadlines, Fun Facts and more to inform you about your rights and responsibilities in your academic studies. For questions please email vpua@utmsu.ca.

What’s the process when accused of an Academic Offence?

When a professor or instructor believes you have committed an academic offence they will inform you via email or in-person meeting giving reasons why they believe an offence was committed and provide you with the opportunity to discuss. Nothing you say in this meeting can be used against you/ used as evidence. 

  • If after the discussion, the instructor believes no academic offence has been committed, they will inform the student that no further action will be taken unless fresh evidence arises. 
  • If after the discussion, the instructor believes that an academic offence has been committed by the student, or if the student fails or neglects to respond to the invitation for discussion, the instructor is obligated to make a report to the department chair or through the department chair to the dean. 

This is a meeting with the Dean or Dean’s Designate. This meeting only occurs if your professor recommends it.

When the dean or the department chair has been so informed, they will notify the student in writing (via email), provide the student with a copy of the Code and subsequently allow the student an opportunity to again discuss the matter. In the case of the dean being informed, the chair of the department and the instructor shall be invited by the dean to be present at the meeting with the student, however, most time instructors will not be present. The dean will then conduct the interview.

  • Before the meeting starts the dean informs the student that they entitled to seek advice (aka UTMSU Academic Advocacy Coordinator) , or to be accompanied by counsel at the meeting (DLS), before the student makes any statement or admission, but will also warn that if the student makes any statement or admission in the meeting, it may be used as evidence against the student. The dean shall also advise the student of the punishments possible, but also inform the student that the dean can choose to not penalize the student at all but instead request that the provost lay a charge.
  • If the dean, on the advice of the department chair and the instructor, or if the department chair, on the advice of the instructor, decides that no academic offence has been committed and that no further action in the matter is required, the student shall be so informed in writing and the student’s work shall be graded. If the student was prevented from withdrawing from the course by the withdrawal date, they will now be allowed to do so. 
  • If the student admits the alleged offence, the dean or the department chair may either impose the penalty that they consider appropriate or refer the matter to the dean or Provost. In either event, the student will be notified accordingly.
  • If the student is dissatisfied with the penalty imposed by the department chair or the dean, the student may refer the matter to the dean or Provost for consideration. 
  • If the student does not admit the alleged offence, the dean may, after consultation with the instructor and the department chair, request that the Provost lay a charge against the student. If the Provost agrees to lay a charge, the case shall then proceed to the Trial Division of the Tribunal.

This is a meeting with the Tribunal. This meeting only occurs in no decision can be reached by the Dean, or you enter a not-guilty plea.

Important note for tribunal: UoT will bring a lawyer to represent them, you should also bring a lawyer to represent you. Check out Downtown Legal Services for a free lawyer to assist you in your case. Do not go to the tribunal without a Lawyer. At the tribunal level, you can be permanently expelled.

The process for prosecuting an alleged academic offence begins with the laying of a charge by the Provost against the student. This is done when the student does not admit guilt; when the sanction desired is beyond the power of the dean to impose; when the student has been found guilty of a previous offence; or when the student is being accused simultaneously of two or more different offences involving more than one incident. Notice of the charge shall be in writing, addressed to the student, signed by or under the authority of the Provost and filed with the Secretary. It must contain a statement of what the student is charged with and contain sufficient evidence to allow the student to understand what and why they are being charged with said offence.

  • Once the Secretary receives receipt of the charge they will determine when the tribunal will take place.
  • The prosecutor (lawyer) hired by the university then has to prove that an offence has indeed been committed. The student is not required to testify at their tribunal. 
  • The members of the Trial Division of the Tribunal who decide on the punishment shall consist of a Senior Chair, at least two Associate Chairs and at least fifteen co-chairs, appointed by the Academic Board.No member of the Trial Division of the Tribunal shall be a full- time student or a full-time member of the teaching staff or a member of the administrative staff.
  • The Tribunal shall,

(i) hear and dispose of charges brought under the Code;

(ii) report its decisions for information to the Academic Board;

(iii) make recommendations to the Governing Council for punishment according to the code.

  • Once the tribunal agrees on a charge, they assemble a panel to be the decision-makers of the charge. Similar to a jury. Hearings in the Trial Division of the Tribunal shall be by a hearing panel composed of three persons, of whom one shall be a student, one shall be a faculty member and the third shall be the Senior Chair, an Associate Chair or a co-chair of the Tribunal.
  • At trial hearings of the Tribunal, the chair of the hearing shall determine all questions of law and has a vote on the verdict and sanction; and the panel shall determine all questions of fact and render a verdict according to the evidence.
  • The verdict of a panel need not be unanimous but at least two affirmative votes are required for a conviction.
  • The decision of the panel does not need to be unanimous but at least two affirmative votes shall be required for a conviction. If there are not two affirmative votes the charges are dropped.

What is Credit/No Credit? How is it used?

  • UTM students may select up to a maximum of 2.0 credits throughout their undergraduate career to be assessed as Credit/No Credit.
  • Courses that are passed with a final mark of at least 50% will receive a ‘credit’ (CR) notation on a transcript. Marks below 50% will receive a ‘no credit’ (NCR) notation on a transcript.
  • Students who select CR/NCR for a course are able to use it toward distribution requirements, but it cannot be used on program requirements.
  • CR/NCR assessments have no effect on your GPA.
  • Courses with a final status of CR will count as degree credits.
  • The deadline to select or cancel CR/ NCR is the last day of classes for the relevant semester.
  • They can be used for any year and in any program.
  • The credit/no credit policy allows you to satisfy degree requirements.
  • It allows you to take courses without having it affect your GPA which in turn gives you as a student the opportunity to broaden your horizons at university and take new classes. Additionally, it allows for a grade to not affect your GPA if you are doing poorly in a class.
  • or cancel CR/NCR is no later than the last day of classes if the relevant term.
  • In courses with no final exam, the deadline to request or cancel CR/NCR is before the date of the final test or due date of the final assignment.
  • The CR/NCR option cannot be used for a course in which the student has committed an academic offence. If a student has specified the CR/NCR option in a course in which they commit an academic offence, the CR/NCR option will be revoked and the percentage grade will stand as the course grade.
  • When you are taking a course that you don’t need for your program and are using them to complete your degree.

Warning: Some programs specify that courses with a grade of CR/NCR will not count as part of the 4.0 credits required for program entry. Program entry requirements are detailed in departmental listings in this calendar.