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Chris Avenir, Ryerson Student, Threatens $10 Million Lawsuit Against University (UPDATED)

When Ryerson University engineering student Chris Avenir started a Facebook group to talk about homework with his peers two years ago, he had no idea it would lead to him filing a potential class-action lawsuit against his school.

In 2008, Avenir's chemistry professor came across an online study group co-hosted by the then first-year student, which invited classmates to "post solutions" to homework that was worth 10 per cent of the final mark.

The department's call to have him expelled drew international attention and ended with Avenir receiving a zero on that 10 per cent portion and having to attend a workshop on academic integrity.

Avenir claims he wasn't allowed proper representation in front a judiciary board. The Chronicle of Higher Education has more:


A statement of claim filed on Mr. Avenir's behalf says that students enrolled at Ryerson have been denied the right to have a lawyer present at disciplinary hearings. According to the document, the university violated its policy requiring that all hearings comply with the Statutory Powers Procedure Act, which guarantees a right to legal counsel. The policy states that all its Senate hearings must "be conducted in a manner consistent with" the act.

In response to the school's handling of his situation, Avenir told the Star: "It makes you feel really overwhelmed. You don't really know what's going on as a student; with all the proceedings, you're not too sure how it works."

Ryerson General Counsel Julia Hanigsberg told the Star that the school is ready to defend itself against Avenir's suit.