Support for Students Experiencing Difficulties


The Department realizes that it is not unusual for students, especially in the first year of the program, to be dealing with a number of difficulties that affect the student’s ability to carry out their program of study.


The Department and the Faculty of Medicine have systems of support to assist students whenever possible, as indicated in the following section.



Within the Department


1. Course Instructor (if the student is having difficulty in a particular course).

2. Faculty Advisor (if it is not possible to approach the Course Instructor or if the issue is not necessarily academic but will influence academic performance and/or student life).

3. Graduate Coordinator or Program Manager.

4. Chair of the Department.


Outside the Department


1. Office of Health Professions, Student Affairs (Faculty of Medicine), FitzGerald Building, 150 College Street, Room 121, or 416-978-2764 (Appointments Email).

For personal counselling contact any of the following staff: Dr. Leslie Nickell (Associate Dean) , Shayna Kulman-Lipsey (Manager of Counselling Services), Joanne Leo (Personal Counsellor), Linda Ivan (Personal Counsellor), Carol Bisnath (Career Counsellor), Nancy Dunlop (Career Counsellor) or Nellie Perret (Academic Coach & Educational Consultant) at 416-978-2764.


2. Health and Wellness Services (U of T), Koffler Student Services Centre, 214 College St.

– Counselling and Psychological Services, 416-978-8070

– Health Services, 416-978-8030




Prevention and Response to Sexual Violence


The following section is republishing of information provided on the above website by the University:


Making a formal report and other available options


1. Reporting to Police: If you would like to make a formal report to the police you can visit campus police and let an officer know that you want to make a report of a sexual assault; the officer will liaise with the municipal police to address your needs. You can also make a report directly with the municipal police (Toronto Police Services or Peel Regional Police Services).


If you are not sure if you would like to pursue a formal report with the police you can contact the Community Safety Office. This tri-campus office provides confidential support and assistance and will identify and explain available options (i.e. criminal charges); assist with arranging for medical treatment and/or sexual assault evidence collection kit, co-create safety plans; make appropriate referrals (i.e. to counselling services); advocate for academic support; as well as offer options for safe housing.


If you are a student who has been sexually assaulted, you can access the University’s tri-campus Assault Counsellor/ Educator or your campus Counselling & Health Services. If you are a staff or faculty member who has been sexually assaulted, you can access the Employee Family Assistance Program.


2. Reporting to the University: Students can make a formal complaint under the Code of Student Conduct. Staff and Faculty can make a formal complained under the Workplace Violence Program.




Safety Needs


If you live in residence, the residence staff (dons and residence life staff, or dean) are available to assist.


If you do not live in residence or if you prefer not to disclose to residence staff you can seek assistance from:


Campus Police (24 hours)

St. George 416-978-2222
UTM 905-569-4333
UTSC 416-287-7333


Community Safety Office (Business hours)


All campuses 416-978-1485


If you would like to explore options regarding formal reports please see: Making a formal report and other available options


Medical Needs


Obtaining medical care after a sexual assault is an important option to be considered. You may be unsure if you want to contact the police. You can still have the Rape Kit examination and the evidence kept before you have to make this decision. However, if you don’t go, that evidence will be lost should you decide to press charges later on.


Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Treatment Centres are located within a hospital and provide a team of nurses and doctors who are specially trained to care for people who have been sexually assaulted. There is a doctor and a nurse on call 24 hours a day to help individuals following a sexual assault. The Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Treatment Centres provide: medical treatment; documentation should you consider now or in the future to inform the police; safety planning and risk assessment; social work/counselling services; referrals to services in the community; cultural interpretation services; and, follow-up services.


Downtown Toronto (St. George)


Women’s College Hospital: 76 Grenville Street, Toronto ON. The clinic is located on the first floor in the Acute Ambulatory Care Unit Room 1256.
Phone: 416-323-6040


All services are provided by registered nurses. The services include, but are not limited to:
Crisis support; Assessment and documentation and of injuries/ assault history; Testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections; Emergency contraceptive options; Testing for drugs that may have been used to commit the assault; Assessment of risk and safety planning ; Referral to community resources. If the victim chooses to involve the police: the hospital will carefully collect and document the necessary evidence for release and analysis.


Mississauga (UTM)


The Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Services located at Trillium Health Centre:
100 Queensway West, Mississauga ON
Phone: 905-848-7493


Clients may access this 24-hour, 7-day a week service through the Emergency Department. A specially trained nurse provides one-on-one care including assessment, treatment, documentation of injuries (may include photographing), safety planning, emotional support and information concerning medical, legal and counselling options. This process takes place in the safety and security of a private unit separate from the Emergency Department.


Scarborough (UTSC)


The Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Care Centre (SA/DVCC) at The Scarborough Hospital (TSH):
3030 Birchmount Road, Scarborough, ON
Phone: 416-495-2555
TTY: 416-498-6739


Provides care that is offered 24 hours a day to men, women and transgendered individuals who have been sexually assaulted or experienced intimate partner violence.


Understanding the complexities of sexual violence


  • Many people tend to think of sexual violence in narrow terms and focus exclusively on sexual assault. However, campus members can be affected by different forms of sexual violence.
  • There are many reasons why individuals may be reluctant to disclose or formally report. The University has services to support individuals even if they are choosing not to make a formal report.


Evaluate Safety Needs


  • Ask if the individual has seen the respondent again or is fearful for her/his safety.
  • Even if the complainant has broken up with the boyfriend/girlfriend/partner who is alleged to have committed the assault, there may be safety issues like harassment, threats or stalking.
  • Let the student know that there are people on campus to talk to about safety planning.
  • Consult with available resources on campus to determine next steps.


Make an appropriate referral


-Refer the complainant to one of the offices to assist on campus


Faculty Advisors


Role of the Faculty Advisor:

1. Encourage and support the student throughout the program;

2. Be the student’s first point of contact with faculty when he/she is seeking guidance with regards to academic issues, career or academic opportunities, housing and financial concerns, award applications, or anything that may impinge on a student’s studies toward career and personal goals;

3. With the permission of the student, be a liaison between the student and faculty when issues arise that affect his/her studies and student life.


After the initial faculty advisor meeting on the orientation day, it is the student’s responsibility to arrange subsequent meetings with his/her faculty advisor.


Though students will be assigned Faculty Advisors, this does not preclude the student from developing supportive working relationships with other members of the faculty. The Department assumes that students will get to know their professors and seek out those who they feel can provide them with support, advice and encouragement as they progress through the program. If a student has a problem that is personal and/or not specific to a course or academic issue, they are encouraged to speak to their Faculty Advisor. It is the student’s responsibility to know the academic policies of the Department; however, students are strongly encouraged to take proactive measures when he/she first begins to experience academic difficulty. Students should feel free to approach any faculty member of the Department to ask for help in developing a plan for improvement.


Remedial Work


a) Students are responsible for self-study, if they experience a lack of background knowledge in a particular area, or difficulty with a particular aspect of a course.  The student can choose a self-study program of his/her own, or ask the Course Instructor or his/her Faculty Advisor for advice on how to improve understanding of certain material or competence in skills.


b) Remedial work will only be allowed for serious health problems or exceptional personal circumstances which may adversely affect the student’s performance in the program.  The student will receive the actual mark earned on the remedial work.


Exceptional Circumstances


a) Students with health problems or other personal circumstances, which might adversely affect their performance in, or ability to complete course work, tests, examinations, or other departmental assessments, may request special consideration.  The student should complete the Department’s Request for Special Consideration form which can be downloaded from the Department’s website (under Current Students, Student Forms) attach appropriate evidence such as the U of T Verification of Student Illness and Student Injury Form, and submit it to the Course Instructor as early as possible before or within 48 hours following the test, examination, or due date of assessment.  The onus is on the student to ensure their physician has filled out the Illness or Injury Verification Form in full. The instructor will inform the student of his/her decision, record this decision on the form, and forward the form to the Program Manager to be placed in the student’s academic file.  This form is available online at the Illness Verification website.


b)  U of T policy states that no student shall be seriously disadvantaged because of his or her religious beliefs.  If this policy is relevant to a student’s circumstance, he/she must complete the Request for Special Consideration form in advance of the date(s) in question, and submit it to their Course Instructor, so alternative arrangements can be made.


c) (i) U of T policy requires that accommodations will be provided to any student with a documented disability that affects their ability to function in an academic setting.  If this policy is relevant to a student’s circumstance, he/she should refer to the Guidelines for Student Accommodations below.


(ii) For items (a) to (c) (i) above: if a deferral of a test or exam is being requested, and permission is granted, the student may be required to sign a non-disclosure form by the Course Instructor.


d) Students in this program are registered full-time and are expected to be committed to full-time studies.  Requests for special consideration for personal circumstances are strongly discouraged (e.g., taking care of domestic business, leaving early for reading week, attending a wedding, going on a vacation, employment, participating in sports events, preoccupation with other courses, etc.).  Requests for special consideration will only be considered if:

– the request is made in advance

– the situation is entirely out of the control of the student

– the student has made every effort to find an alternative solution

– the student makes a strong case for the issue to be considered exceptional

– explanations of each of the above points are included on the Request form along with supporting documentation


If a deferral of a test or exam is being requested under item (d) above, and permission is granted , the student will be required to pay a fee of $70.00 according to the University Schedule of Administrative User Fees and Fines, prior  to the test or exam being written.  The student must download the Deferred Examinations Payment form from the OT website as he/she will be required to show their receipt to the Course Instructor at the time if the exam.  The student may also be required to sign a non-disclosure form by the Course Instructor.