Academic Implications of Disruptions or Cessations of University Business Due to Labour Disputes or Other Causes, Senate Policy on the

Academic Implications of Disruptions or Cessations of University Business Due to Labour Disputes or Other Causes, Senate Policy on the

Legislative History:

Approved by Senate Executive Committee; Approved by Senate: 1988/04/28; 1999/06/24 Date Effective: 1999/06/24

Approval Authority: Senate

Signature: Harriet Lewis

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Description: Supersedes the Senate Policy on the Academic Implications of Labour Disputes Resulting in the Disruption or Cessation of University Business; Updates and generalizes the Senate Policy on Strikes of Short Duration. Senate Policy No. 008


1.1 For the purpose of this policy, a Disruption occurs when academic activities are substantially interrupted or impeded as a result of strikes, lockouts, demonstrations, natural disasters, or other like causes.

1.2 The term "academic activity" includes any work subject to evaluation or necessary for a student to meet the requirements of a course or programme of study.

1.3 In determining whether an interruption or an impediment is substantial, the following factors shall be considered:

1.3.1 the duration and point in the term or session in which the Disruption occurred;

1.3.2 the availability of physical and instructional resources;

1.3.3 the impact on the attendance of students, instructors, and other necessary participants;

1.3.4 the impact of timing and sequence of evaluations such as examinations, practica, assignments and presentations etc.


The governing principles of this policy are: Academic Integrity, Fairness to Students, and Timely Information.

2.1 Academic Integrity

In the event of a Disruption, the primary obligation of Senate is to ensure the academic integrity of all programmes. No dilution of standards normally expected of students should be permitted and there should be as little diminution as possible in the instructional or supervisory support given to students.

2.2 Fairness to Students

2.2.1 Students who do not participate in academic activities because:

a) they are unable to do so owing to a Disruption, or

b) they choose not to participate in academic activities owing to a strike or lock-out on campus

are entitled to immunity from penalty, to reasonable alternative access to materials covered in their absence, to reasonable extensions of deadlines and to such other remedy as Senate deems necessary and consistent with the principle of academic integrity.

2.2.2 Such remedies shall not alter the academic standards associated with the missed activity, nor shall it relieve the student of the responsibility for mastering materials covered.

2.2.3 The availability of a remedy under this policy does not guarantee students the same learning experience that they would have received in the absence of a Disruption.

2.3 Timely Information

Students, staff and faculty have a right to be informed in a timely manner of changed requirements, rescheduled academic activities, and procedures to be in effect at the conclusion of the Disruption.


3.1 Communication and Dissemination of Information

3.1.1 When a Disruption appears imminent: The Senate Executive Committee shall ensure that the normal informational channels, including Senate's webpage, are alerted so that Senate policies and decisions will be reported widely and accurately. The Senate Executive Committee shall post an appropriate notice to remind or notify students, staff, faculty, Faculty Councils, Unit Chairs, Graduate Directors, and Deans of their respective roles in giving effect to Senate policy and shall ensure that this information is disseminated speedily. A notice shall be posted by the Senate Executive Committee regarding the possibility of rescheduling following a Disruption and of term extension following the conclusion of a Disruption. A précis of this policy shall be prepared which can be circulated widely and posted on the University's website in the event of a Disruption.

3.1.2 When a Disruption occurs, the Senate Executive Committee shall declare so and request that: The Registrar use best efforts to inform and update relevant external bodies about the Disruption. University officers use best efforts to have externally imposed deadlines extended, especially where the lack of transcripts or the unavailability of letters of recommendation would impose a hardship on current students. The University Librarian disseminate information about the impact of a Disruption on access to collections and services as early and as frequently as possible via print notices, messages on websites, and other means; Any adjustment of deadlines be announced widely, including on Senate's webpage; The University provide a telephone information service to make known relevant information about academic activities.

3.1.3 When a Disruption ends, the Senate Executive Committee shall declare so and shall give notice to students and course directors of the procedures then in effect under this policy.

3.2 Short Disruptions

3.2.1 Disruptions of academic activities of six or fewer days will be governed by normal academic regulations.

3.2.2 In the case of such brief Disruptions, individual faculty are in the best situation to determine, in the first instance, the extent to which their courses, seminars, graduate supervision, labs, practica, etc., have been affected by a Disruption and what remedial action is required.

3.2.3 If, in the opinion of a course director, remedial action ought to include rescheduling in order to preserve course integrity, in consultation with the Office of the Registrar he/she shall take actions consistent with the principles of academic integrity, fairness to students, and timely information as stated above.

3.3 Long Disruptions

3.3.1 Whereas the Senate Executive Committee has been monitoring the situation at the outset of a Disruption, on the seventh day of a Disruption it shall receive reports from Faculty Councils and the Vice-President Academic & Provost on the impact of the Disruption.

3.3.2 In the event a Disruption continues for seven or more days, the Chairs of Academic Standards, Curriculum and Pedagogy (ASCP) and the Senate Appeals Committee (SAC) shall be added to the membership of the Senate Executive Committee as voting members for Disruption related issues and shall remain members for the duration of the Disruption.

3.3.3 If two or more weeks of instructional time are lost in full-year courses or equivalent (or one week or more in half-year courses or equivalent, or in one term full courses or equivalent), the Senate Executive Committee shall presume the need for a modification of the teaching term with any concomitant changes in examination scheduling.

3.3.4 The Senate Executive Committee shall oversee the process of directing and implementing the necessary remedial action. In cases where substantial amounts of instructional time have been lost due to a Disruption, the Senate Executive Committee shall: On the seventh day of a Disruption, the Senate Executive Committee shall announce that all quarter and half courses will require substantial remedial action and shall notify Unit Chairs and administrative staff, Deans, Graduate Directors and Faculty Councils. On the 14th day of a Disruption, a similar notification regarding full year courses shall be issued. call a meeting of Senate no later that the 14th day of a Disruption. Thereafter, the Senate Executive Committee shall consult with Senate as it continues to discharge its mandate under this policy, and as soon as possible after the end of the Disruption. have the power to implement and disseminate any existing Senate policies and regulations necessary to fulfill its mandate under this policy. have authority to extend a term and to authorize the rescheduling of examinations which have been disrupted, in order to preserve academic integrity. The Senate Executive Committee may also reduce the length of term by not more than 7 days in the case of half courses and by not more than 14 days in the case of full-year courses. Implementation of changes to the academic term will be organized centrally. Appropriate central offices, such as the Office of the Registrar, will be consulted prior to the decision and asked to assist in any rescheduling. resolve conflicts between the principles of academic integrity and fairness to students. In particular and without limiting the generality of the forgoing, the Senate Executive Committee may anticipate and apply remedies which would otherwise be available by petition and shall do so in light of University precedent and practice. If a Disruption continues to a point where no feasible remedy consistent with the principle of academic integrity is available, then, Senate Executive Committee shall after consultation recommend to Senate that credit not be given for the course(s).

3.4 Petitions and Appeals

Normal petition and appeal procedures shall apply to deal with academic issues arising from a Disruption which lasts less than seven days. Where a Disruption occurred for seven days or longer, SAC shall monitor petitions and appeals to ensure fairness and reasonable consistency of outcomes.