Case #02-03-02

DATE: May 8, 2003
PARTIES: University of Toronto v. Mr. N.K.

Hearing Date(s): March 31 and April 1, 2003

Panel Members:
Julie K. Hannaford, Co-Chair
Allison Guy, student member
Dennis Magill, faculty member

Shaun Laubman and Nicole Redgate, Downtown Legal Services, for Mr. N.K.
Lily I. Harmer, Assistant Discipline Counsel, for the University of Toronto
Arti Dhand, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Arts and Science
Ian McDonald, Associate Dean, University of Toronto at Scarborough
Mr. N.K., accused
Namita Rajpal, student, University of Toronto
Bipin Vyas, Hindu Priest
Mrs. M.K., mother of the accused
Shantheni Ratnavel, undergraduate student, University of Toronto at Scarborough
Lenard Whiting, tutor, University of Toronto

Trial Division - s. B.i.1(d) of Code – plagiarism – essay plagiarized from internet - paper created and submitted in effort to discredit Student – finding of guilt – prior academic offence - previous sanction ten weeks before commission of offence – academic status not accounted for - grade assignment of zero for course a serious penalty – suspension length set to accommodate eligibility for convocation - grade assignment of zero for course; sixteen-month suspension; sixteen-month notation on transcript; and report issued to Provost

Student charged under s. B.i.1(d) of the Code. The charges related to allegations that the Student submitted a plagiarized essay. The Student pleaded not guilty to the charges. It was not in dispute that the paper was substantially the same as a paper found on the internet. The Student claimed that he was not the author of the paper and that someone else might have created and submitted it in an effort to discredit him. The Panel considered the evidence and found the Student guilty of the charge under s. B.i.1(d) of the Code. The Student had been sanctioned for a prior offence eight to ten weeks prior to the commission of the offence at issue. The Panel found that no considerations with regard to the Student’s level of study should be accounted for. The Panel found that a grade assignment of zero for the course should be assigned as the notation would remain on the Student’s transcript forever and would be a significant penalty. The Panel found that because the imposition of a zero for the course was a serious penalty there should be a sixteen-month suspension so that the Student would be permitted to convocate, if he was otherwise eligible, in the fall of the following year. The Panel imposed a grade of zero in the course; a sixteen-month suspension; a sixteen-month notation on the Student’s academic record and transcript; and that a report be issued to the Provost.