Policy 5410 — Guidelines for the Academic Implications of Instructional Disruptions

Policy section:
Section 5400-5499 Disruptions
Policy number:
Guidelines for the Academic Implications of Instructional Disruptions
Approved By:
Approved date:
February 2, 2000
March 15, 2016
Administered by:
Vice-President, Academic & Research


i. instructional days: instructional days shall be interpreted to mean the days in which regular classes ... and/or exams are scheduled to be held as outlined in the Academic Calendar.

ii. instructional disruption: a period of time no less than seven (7) instructional days in an academic term, in which the University schedule is significantly disrupted.


Whereas, University instruction and academic activity may be significantly disrupted from time to time for a variety of reasons, the following principles shall apply, during and after such disruptions:

A. Clear policies that are to be widely distributed and effectively carried out will ensure that students are kept informed of their options and the ongoing operations of the University in the event of a disruption;

B. The University Senate wishes to ensure that the integrity of all academic programs is maintained regardless of any disruption and that every effort be made to avoid dilution of academic standards;

C. Students shall have the freedom of choice to act according to the guidelines listed below without undue academic penalty.

D. Wherever possible, existing University committees, offices and procedures will be used to deal with grievances relating to academic issues arising from an instructional disruption to ensure consistent treatment of cases.


A. Students' Freedom of Choice
i. Students have the right to continue their academic routine, including access to University libraries, computer labs, athletic facilities, and the various academic buildings, within the limits of the disruption;

ii. Students have the right to express personal views on the disruption without facing harassment or reprisals from any party;

iii. Students have the right to attend or not to attend classes held during the disruption without facing harassment or reprisals from any party.
B. Students' Right to Withdraw from Courses Without Academic Penalty:
The University will allow any student to withdraw from any given full year course after an instructional disruption of fifteen (15) instructional days and from any half year course after an instructional disruption often (10) instructional days, during the term in which said course is being attempted.
i. the period of withdrawals under this section shall be ten (10) instructional days following the resumption of classes or;

ii. in the case that there are not ten (10) instructional days remaining in the term, the period of withdrawal shall continue up to 24 hours prior to the final exam or up to the date of the final submission of term work for the course in question.
C. Student Responsibilities:
Notwithstanding the anxieties and ambiguities posed by such situations, students have a responsibility to keep up with their work despite choosing or being unable to attend class during a disruption.


In the absence of a need for a more substantial remedy in order to preserve course integrity, course instructors are expected to take the following actions as promptly as possible. It is the responsibility of each Department or Programme involved to ensure that whatever changes are made in individual courses are taken into account when the syllabi are being planned for related courses offered in the subsequent term or academic year.

A. For Classes Not Held During a Disruption:
i. Course material scheduled to be covered during the period of an instructional disruption, such as those involving labs, practices, rehearsals, or inaccessible material, should if possible be made up during normal class time.

ii. When an instructor deems that extra class sessions are necessary, every effort should be made to ensure that such classes are held at the convenience of the majority of the students and that alternative arrangements are made for any student unable to attend those extra sessions.

iii. When course material cannot be covered in class or during extra sessions, serious consideration should be given to striking it from the syllabus and the marking scheme.
iv.  It is understood that decisions as to the altering of course syllabi may be influenced by the certification requirements of outside bodies.
B. For Classes Held During a Disruption:
i. Instructors are expected to provide alternative access to the material covered to students absent from classes held during a disruption. Reasonable alternatives might include providing lecture notes, special tutoring, class recordings, guides to suitable readings, and the like.

ii. Essays, reports, exercises, and other written submissions due during or immediately after a disruption shall be accepted for a period which allows students a reasonable time for completion, taking into account that students may not have been able to continue with this work during the disruption.

iii. It is expected that if a test has been given during the period of the instructional disruption, a substitute test shall be offered to students absent from the original one, at a time convenient for both the instructor and the students involved.
C. When Reorganization of the Syllabus (Including Evaluation) is Deemed Necessary:
i. The instructor shall discuss all plans for rescheduling or reorganization with class members before implementation, bearing in mind the principles of fairness to students and academic integrity. This discussion shall take place within five (5) instructional days of the resumption of classes.

ii. Within ten (10) instructional days of the resumption of classes, the instructor shall inform their class of any rescheduling or reorganization in writing. The revised curriculum shall include a statement explaining the procedure for grievances in accordance with Policy 5410 (Appendix A and B). A copy of the revised curriculum will be sent to the Head of the Department or Program Director and the Dean of the Faculty concerned. The Dean of the Faculty will forward all revised curricula to the Mount Allison Students' Union (MASU).

iii. Students not satisfied with rescheduling or reorganization should discuss the matter with the instructor first. If still not satisfied, students may turn to any of the following: Head of the Department or Program Director, Dean of the Faculty concerned, Provost and Vice-President (Academic & Research), in that order.

iv.The MASU Vice-President Academic Affairs or a representative from MASU may also act as an advocate for any student who remains dissatisfied beyond the level of the Dean.


A. The Role of the University:
i. The University will provide a notice of the resumption of the regular class schedule to the Mount Allison community at least twenty-four (24) hours before this resumption is scheduled to occur.

ii. All University academic deadlines, including but not limited to, the add/drop period and withdrawals, which are scheduled to occur during the disruption shall be suspended until after the disruption has ceased and classes have resumed for a minimum of five (5) instructional days.
B. The Role of the University Senate:
i. The Chair of the University Senate will call a meeting of the Senate to occur during the first five (5) instructional days following a return from a disruption, at which time the Senate shall review any matters of concern to the Senate, including the academic schedule and deadlines outlined in the Academic Calendar, and make such decisions or recommendations as the Senate deems appropriate.
C. Special Academic Appeals Committee:     
i. A Special Academic Appeals Committee on Grievances from the Instructional Disruption (hereafter, "the committee") will be struck whenever there is an instructional disruption. The committee will be composed of the Academic Dean(s), one of whom shall chair the committee, one (1) member of faculty, and two (2) students (appointed by the MASU). The mandate of the committee is to hear and deal with student complaints that arise from the academic impacts of instructional disruptions.

ii. The committee shall set an appropriate time line to deal with appeals, which shall extend to a date of at least one month after the mailing of scholarship notices and/or the admissions appeals deadline. An appeals form will be posted online, ideally with other forms maintained by the Registrar's Office, with instructions on appeals under Policy 5410 as distinct from other appeals, the deadline for submitting appeals, and the information required to make an appeal.

iii. Wherever possible, existing University  committees and offices will be used to deal with appeals arising from an instructional disruption. Thus, where appropriate, the committee will direct cases to existing University committees and/or offices for action. The committee will remain responsible for overseeing all cases, however, and communicating decisions to students.

iv. When the committee concludes its work, it will issue a report to Senate on its work. It may make recommendations to Senate for changing of this policy as it deems necessary.


Any complaints by students concerning the application of the policy will be referred to the Provost and Vice-President, Academic & Research, and may be appealed in writing to the University Senate.