Math grade draws human rights complaint
By Sabrina Carinci
Poor math grades are the focus of a two-year long and pending investigation by the Ontario Human Rights Commission against Western.
In a letter received by The Gazette dated July 1998, allegations were made which stated Hana Skrdla had filed two separate complaints with the Ontario Human Rights Commission. The letter was written by the complainant's father, Joseph Skrdla.
According to the letter, the first complaint was of discrimination because of a failed appeal of a math grade and the second was based upon her subsequent retraction from Western in the semester of her graduation.
Bev Greene, a lawyer who works as an executive assistant to Peter Mercer, Western's VP-administration and general counsel, said she is confident there is no substance to Hana's allegations.
"We've investigated the allegations, have tried to come up with a solution but have been unsatisfactory in finding a solution," she said.
According to Greene, the troubles began in December of 1996, when Hana appealed a math grade. When she lost the appeal, she then filed her first complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Commission.
"When that didn't move fast enough, she filed another complaint," Greene said. After the second complaint, Hana then decided to file criminal charges.
According to the letter, allegations were also made of criminal misconduct from tampering with grades to fraud in awarding Ontario Graduate Scholarships.
Sgt. John O'Flaherty of the London Police said an investigation was performed by detectives from the fraud unit, who looked into the allegations and found no grounds for laying criminal charges. Their files have long since been closed, he said.
Both Joseph and Hana Skrdla refused to comment on the situation beyond the letter that was written.
When asked about the allegations of criminal misconduct, Greene said she had no previous knowledge of these complaints and noted Hana continually changed her mind. "Hana would like it Hana's way she's the only student at Western," Green said.
Robert Streich, information officer with the Ontario Human Rights Commission, was unable to give specific information about the status of the case, because it is still under investigation.
Streich did say, however, if the complainant's allegations are found to be true, the university may be required to comply with various decisions, including compensating Hana for any losses she has suffered or even providing a public apology.