A student with 17 doctor notes and other medical-policy woes

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(Ryersonian Archive)

Medical notes dominated the discussion at the first of two town hall meetings on Monday evening, which focused on academic policies that will be revised by the Academic Policy Review Committee (APRC).

According to the current policy on academic consideration and appeals, a student must get their physician to fill out the Ryerson student medical certificate if they fail to submit an assignment or miss an exam for medical reasons.

However, students complained that the forms are not always accessible, particularly if they are seeing a doctor on an emergency basis and do not have access to a printer. Students are allowed to submit a letter from a doctor, but only if it contains all of the information listed on the form.

“This is a specific issue that I know is quite problematic for Ryerson administration faculty, staff and students because a regular doctor’s note will not suffice,” said Dr. Jacob Friedman, co-chair of the APRC.

Friedman, who is also the chair of Mechanical Industrial Engineering at Ryerson, said in the last academic year, he received 575 medical notes out of his 800 students.

“Granted that some are repeated medical notes, but the highest record for one student was 17 times,” said Friedman. “The problem is identifying the real ones from the fake.”

Friedman also noted that the committee was looking at other universities across Canada to see their models, but said that the feedback from students at these meetings is more helpful. Students in attendance described the process as “disorganized,” “tedious” and “not accommodating.”  

The two-hour meeting tackled two out the five policies under review – the second policy discussed was undergraduate course management. The other policies include graduate academic consideration and appeals, course management at both the undergraduate and graduate levels and the policy on examinations.

Ryerson’s next town hall meeting will take place on Sept. 22 and focus on the three remaining policies.

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