Student's Rights Cheat Sheet

As a student at York University you have the right to:

What you can expect from York! 

 the students who submit petitions and appeals have responsibilities to meet the requirements of the process; the University has responsibilities in administering it.  

Non-Academic Staff:

It is the responsibility of members of the non-academic staff to: 
•    make available to students advice and guidance regarding options, deadlines, required documentation, and appeal routes by way of written notification, the University website, personal appointments or communication over the telephone;
•    direct students to the appropriate office for information on petitions/appeals;
•    attend to petitions and appeals efficiently to prevent undue delay;
•    maintain confidentiality.

Faculty Members:

It is the responsibility of faculty members to: 
1.    respond adequately to requests for information from students and non-academic staff in a timely manner;
2.    direct students to the appropriate office for information on petitions/appeals;
3.    maintain confidentiality.

Petition/Appeal Officers/Committees:
It is the responsibility of petitions/appeals officers or committees to: 
•    ensure that parties receive fair, consistent and ethical treatment;
•    give thorough and serious attention to all requests;
•    render decisions only after careful deliberation;
•    supply parties with reasonable explanation for decisions;
•    respect and maintain students’ right to confidentiality.

What York can expect from you:

The University has established regulations and procedures through its legislative bodies to which students must adhere. Students are also expected to monitor their own progress in courses, taking into account their personal and academic circumstances, and adjusting their workload as necessary prior to the appropriate deadlines. However, the University recognizes that specific circumstances may justify a waiver of the regulations/requirements/deadlines on an individual basis. Students opting to initiate a petition should be assured that confidentiality is a hallmark of this process and information submitted in support of their petition/appeal will not be used for any other purpose.  
While it is the University’s responsibility to provide students with proper information, guidance and advice, it is the student’s responsibility to:
•    be aware of and adhere to all Faculty and Department regulations, requirement and published deadlines;
•    familiarize themselves with their Faculty’s written petition/appeal procedures and make requests in a timely fashion ;
•    provide all documentation to support their petition/appeal and to do so in a timely fashion;
•    indicate and document all relevant circumstances upon submitting a petition.

Grading Scheme and Feedback Policy:

•    that the grading scheme (i.e. kinds and weights of assignments, essays, exams, etc.) be announced, and be available in writing, within the first two weeks of class
Note: Under unusual and/or unforeseeable circumstances, which disrupt the academic norm, instructors are expected to provide grading schemes and academic feedback in the spirit of these regulations, as soon as possible.

From the University Secretariat Website 

York University shall make reasonable and appropriate accommodations and adaptations in order to promote the ability of students with disabilities to fulfill the academic requirements of their programs. 
The nature and extent of accommodations shall be consistent with and supportive of the integrity of the curriculum and of the academic standards of programs or courses.
Provided that students have given sufficient notice about their accommodation needs, instructors shall take reasonable steps to accommodate these needs in a manner consistent with the guidelines established hereunder. 
‘Disabilities’ shall be defined as those conditions so designated under the Ontario Human Rights Code in force from time to time, and will in any event include physical, medical, learning, and psychiatric disabilities.
Approved by Senate 1991/06; Revised by Senate 2005/02/24 as “Policy Regarding Academic Accommodation for Students with Disabilities”

GUIDELINES:

1.   Identification of students requiring academic accommodations
1.1 Students with disabilities who require accommodations shall, in a timely manner, provide the relevant medical, psychoeducational or psychiatric documentation to the appropriate York University office for students with disabilities to qualify for accommodations.  
1.2 The University’s offices for students with disabilities will assist students in the identification of particular aspects of courses that might present barriers to them and will work with them to identify the appropriate accommodations, provide supportive documentation, and assist the students and instructors in providing/obtaining accommodations.  
 
2.   Instruction-Related Accommodations
2.1 Types of accommodations may include, but are not limited to:
•    Timely provision of reading lists and other course materials to allow for alternate format transcription; 
•    Alternate format transcription; 
•    Alternate scheduling for the completion of course, project, thesis work or competency examinations; 
•    Extensions to program completion time limits; 
•    Use of assistive devices or auxiliary aids in the classroom/laboratory/field (e.g., FM systems worn by course instructors; computerized notetakers in the classroom); 
•    Use of oral and visual language interpreters and/or notetakers in the classroom; 
•    Permission for audio recording of lectures; 
•    Permission for video-taping of lectures; 
•    Special seating, wheelchair accessible tables; 
•    Adjustments to lighting. 

3.  Accommodation in Examinations and Evaluations
3.1 Test/exam accommodations may include, but are not limited to:
4.    alternate scheduling of examinations and essays; 
5.    alternate forms of assessment; 
6.    extended time to complete tests/examinations; 
7.    use of special equipment (computer, assistive technology,  etc.); 
8.    use of special facilities (alternate test/exam room and proctor) and/or examinations in alternate formats (e.g. audio tape, Braille, etc.). 
3.2 Whenever possible, the usual procedures for writing tests and examinations shall be followed.
 
4.  Accommodations Agreements
4.1 Students and instructors shall wherever possible agree to the appropriate accommodations.
4.2 In cases where the instructor and the student cannot agree about the provision of accommodations, the instructor shall discuss the recommended accommodations with an advisor from the office for persons with disabilities.  If they are unable to reach an agreement, the Chair of the Department and/or Associate Dean or Dean of the Faculty shall be consulted.
4.3 In cases where the disagreement remains unresolved, a mediative process will be implemented by the Dean of the student’s Faculty. (University Secretariat: Policies, Procedures, and Regulations)

Guidelines for the Use of Text Matching Software Services at York University:
Text matching service software (at present, Turnitin.com) is made available to York University instructors who elect to use this tool as a means of promoting academic honesty and avoiding plagiarism in a course. 

Instructors may require the use of text-matching software in their courses to verify the originality of student’s written course work and/or as a learning tool that students may use to avoid inadvertent plagiarism. 

Students have the right to opt out of using text-matching software and to choose an alternative method for assessment of their work. 

Instructors requiring the use of text-matching software in a course are obligated to provide alternative methods for assessing the authenticity of a student’s work for students who elect not to use the text matching service software. Recommended alternative methods include:
•    Submitting multiple drafts 
•    Submitting a detailed annotated bibliography 
•    Submitting photocopies of source documents 
•    Taking an oral examination directed at issues of originality 
•    Responding in writing to questions directed at issues of originality 
•    Providing a written report concerning the process of completing the work 
•    More than one of the above 
•    An alternative system for verifying authenticity, approved by the Departmental Chair or Dean of a Faculty 
At the outset of a course, students shall be informed that text-matching software shall be used, advised of the opt-out provisions available to them and provided with the following information:

The importance of academic integrity, York’s policies and procedures regarding academic integrity and that suspected plagiarism will be investigated and, if found, disciplinary action taken. 
    
    What comprises appropriate referencing, citation, bibliographic footnotes, etc., for this course. 

Instructors shall provide students with written instructions for the submission of their work to the text-matching service. If the option is provided by the service, students may submit their student number as opposed to their name, so long as they inform their instructor that they have done so. 

Normally, written work is to be graded by an instructor prior to reviewing the results produced by the text-matching software. However, if an instructor has reasonable cause to suspect that a student has misrepresented work as their own, the instructor may immediately elect to use output from text-matching software and/or utilize any other traditional process (e.g., library search) to verify the integrity of a work. 

Should an instructor uncover what they deem to be plagiarism or other breach of academic integrity, they are to follow the procedures approved by their Faculty for the handling of a breach of the Senate Policy on Academic Honesty.

Senate Policy on Religious Observance

York University is committed to respecting the religious beliefs and practices of all members of the community and making accommodations for observances of special significance
Every effort will be made to avoid scheduling in-class or formal examinations on days of special religious significance throughout the year. A schedule of dates for such days for various faiths will be compiled annually and distributed widely. Students will be informed of procedures for requesting and arranging accommodations. (Senate 032)

Senate Policy on Identifying and Distributing a Schedule of Dates

A schedule of dates for such days for various faiths will be compiled annually and distributed widely. Students will be informed of procedures for requesting and arranging accommodations. (Senate 032)
Senate Policy on In-class and Formal Examinations
In October 2008, the Senate Policy on Sessional Dates and the Scheduling of Examinations was amended. As such, formal examinations will not be held on public holidays or at other times as directed by the University Senate, administration

Religious Accommodation Guidelines: Final Examinations

Students who, because of a religious commitment cannot write a formally scheduled examination (December and April examination periods) on the date scheduled, should contact the course instructor and submit a Religious Accommodation Agreement to the department offering the course no later than three weeks prior to the start of the examination period to arrange an alternative examination date.

When arrangements between the student and instructor cannot be made, or if the student does not feel comfortable about approaching the instructor to request a religious accommodation, then the student should contact the associate dean of the Faculty in which the course is offered. Students are required to contact the associate dean not less than 14 days prior to the start of the examination and, if requested to do so, present evidence concerning the religious obligations involved.

The associate dean may consider a number of options to provide an accommodation. The choice will depend on the student’s particular circumstance. For example, the accommodations may include:
•    Treating the request as a conflict and accommodating it within the examination period, or
•    Providing a deferred examination as soon as possible.

Religious Accommodation Guidelines: Other than Final Examinations

Students, who because of religious commitment cannot meet academic obligations, other than formally scheduled examinations (December and April examination period), on certain holy days are responsible for giving their instructor reasonable notice (not less than 14 days), of each conflict.
Solutions may include:
9.    Rescheduling the evaluation, or
10.    Preparing an alternative evaluation for that particular student, or
11.    Recalculating the total evaluation in the course to eliminate the component that has been missed.
When the instructor and student are unable to agree on suitable accommodation, the matter will be referred to the associate dean who may request that the student present evidence concerning the religious obligations involved.

Religious Accommodation Guidelines: Course Directors

Course directors, who because of religious commitment cannot hold a formally scheduled examination (December and April examination period) on a specific day/time, must inform the Registrar’s Office, through their associate dean, in a timely fashion only if another day/time is required. Otherwise, it will be assumed that arrangements were made within a department for a replacement. (York University: Registrar's Office)

No examinations or tests collectively worth more than 20% of the final grade in a course will be given during the final 14 calendar days of classes in a term. The exceptions to the rule are classes, which regularly meet Friday evenings or on Saturday and/or Sunday at any time, and courses offered in the compressed summer terms. (York University Secretariat: Policies)

Grading Scheme and Feedback Policy

Policy: 
That the grading scheme (i.e. kinds and weights of assignments, essays, exams, etc.) be announced, and be available in writing, within the first two weeks of class, and that, under normal circumstances, graded feedback worth at least 15% of the final grade for Fall, Winter or Summer Term, and 30% for ‘full year’ courses offered in the Fall/Winter Term be received by students in all courses prior to the final withdrawal date from a course without receiving a grade, with the following exceptions

  • Graduate or upper level undergraduate courses where course work typically, or at the instructor’s discretion, consists of a single piece of work and/or is based predominantly (or solely) on student presentations (e.g. honours theses or graduate research papers not due by the drop date, etc.);
  • Practicum courses;
  • Ungraded courses;
  • Courses in Faculties where the drop date occurs within the first 3 weeks of classes;
  • Courses which run on a compressed schedule ( a course which accomplishes its academic credits of work at a rate of more than one credit hour per two calendar weeks).

Note: Under unusual and/or unforeseeable circumstances, which disrupt the academic norm, instructors are expected to provide grading schemes and academic feedback in the spirit of these regulations, as soon as possible. (York University Secretariat: Policies,  Procedures, and Regulations)


If your problem is with a T.A or Professor, you can talk to the Department Chair, or Associate Dean of your Faculty. Whatever you do, make sure you document each step you take and keep notes of what was said at each meeting. If none of these routes address your needs, then you can initiate a formal complaint with your Home Faculty Dean's Office.

Student Advocacy Services (SAS) is a no-cost, confidential service, providing referral, advocacy and advice in regards to academic petitions, appeals, Senate appeals, academic hearings, while facilitating dispute resolution and mediation in regards to non-academic conflicts. Please contact us at sas@yfs.ca to discuss your situation.