Student fights for correctly dated degree

SOLUS error sparks frustration with Registrar’s office 

Student fights to have degree backdated.
Journal File Photo

A Queen’s student has alleged she was misled by Arts & Science academic advisors and has been fighting with Queen’s officials to have her degree awarded due to a SOLUS error. 

“Applying to graduate has been the easiest thing I’ve ever done,” Amrit Brar, ArtSci’21, said in an interview with The Journal

This was Brar’s first reaction when she applied to graduate on SOLUS with her general Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Life Sciences. 

Now, Brar describes the process of obtaining her degree on time as frustrating and traumatic.

Brar was in the Biology honours stream and made the switch to general Life Sciences in her fourth year. This was marked with complications when an academic advisor originally told her she only needed one more course to graduate. Brar later found she was required to take more classes.

“She told me that I only needed one three credit course to complete my whole program [...] Unfortunately, my housemate also experienced issues with academic advisors. I checked my degree by running the ‘What If Report,’ and I called an academic advisor who informed me that I actually needed three more courses to graduate,” Brar explained. 

“I was given the wrong information and it stung more because I was on the phone with [the advisor]. I was trying to take accountability and actually do my own research. Originally, I thought from what I was seeing on my end that, ‘Okay, I know what she's telling me is adding up.’ I was in shock.”

Brar recalled the original and incorrect advice from the academic advisor set her back in her intended date of graduation from Spring 2021 to Fall 2021. Brar took the additional courses in the Summer and Spring terms and stayed on track to graduate in the Fall. 

When it came time to apply for graduation, Brar said the process was easy and both she and a housemate received green checkmarks on SOLUS with no confirmation email. Brar planned on attending an in-person convocation in Fall 2021 before the ceremony was canceled.

After the ceremony was canceled, Brar called Queen’s in late September to ensure her degree would be mailed to her address. The university official asked for Brar’s student number and confirmed the degree would be sent.

Since this call was made before the deadline to apply for Fall 2021 graduation, Brar said the error could’ve been caught, allowing her to graduate on time. 

“After receiving my student number, [the Queen’s official] had to input it to see if I actually did graduate like I was claiming. That’s when she told me I would receive my degree in December by mail,” Brar said.

After months of waiting anxiously, Brar called in January of 2022 to understand why the degree still hadn’t been sent to her address. 

“I spoke to [a] Student Client Representative […] and she told me that she couldn’t find my application and I went through a range of emotions,” Brar said.

“It just doesn’t add up—how did it [the degree application] appear in September 2021, but it was gone when I called in January 2022?”

After finding out her application hadn’t gone through, Brar applied to graduate in Spring 2022. She’s fighting to have her degree graduation date backdated to Fall 2021. 

“They continue to say, ‘You didn't apply to graduate, we don't backdate degrees.’ Like this is a ‘you’ issue. ‘Swallow the pill and suck it up—just apply to graduate for the next term,’” Brar said. 

For Brar, backdating this degree is a sign of her accomplishments. She also believes it keeps her competitive in optometry school applications. 

“For a program like optometry, if they asked me, ‘Why did it take you five years to complete a three-year degree?’ I sound incompetent when that isn’t the case,” Brar said. 

In terms of work opportunities, Brar said the process of graduating is causing strains and Queen’s is offering her ineffective solutions. 

“I kind of just gave up on the job-hunting aspect [of graduating] because a lot of the jobs required a degree. I don't have a degree, so I just couldn't apply,” Brar said. 

“A letter stating that I met all my degree requirements [from Queen’s] isn't sufficient for all jobs, and not the jobs I was looking to apply to in healthcare administration.” 

In emails obtained by The Journal, one university official told Brar the process to graduate is “straightforward.” 

“I’m sorry if you feel you haven’t been given adequate options, but our graduation process is straightforward. Students receive their diploma based on when they apply to graduate,” the email from the official read. 

The same official said there was no record of Brar’s application to graduate, and the SOLUS team couldn’t find any data. 

The whole process has taken a toll on Brar mentally. 

“Getting emails from [Principal Patrick Deane and administration] explaining how they care about their students' mental health, it’s extremely unprofessional,” Brar said. 

“Giving out false information like that—it's quite detrimental. It just really infuriated me and still infuriates me because there's so many missed opportunities, and I've felt like students aren't really taken seriously.” 

Going forward, Brar has contacted ASUS President Alyth Roos, who Brar said has forwarded her concerns. 

“The fact is Queen's University is run like a business. I don't think it is insane or too much to ask we are treated as clients; we are paying quite a bit of money. I can't imagine any business surviving with the way that they are continuously treating their students and paying customers,” Raj Brar, Brar’s sister, told The Journal

The Journal reached out to the University for a statement but didn’t receive a response in time for publication.

All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.