Case #03-04-01

DATE: April 7, 2004
PARTIES: University of Toronto v. Ms. B.


Hearing Date(s): October 1, 2003, November 11, 2003, December 3, 2003, and April 1, 2004

Panel Members:
Laura Trachuk, Co-Chair
Justin Ancheta, Student Panel Member
Marie-Josée Fortin, Faculty Panel Member

Appearances:
Eric Lewis, for Ms. B.
Lily I. Harmer, for the University
Hugo de Quehen, Faculty member, Department of English
Devon LaBerge, Student
Mrs. B., Mother of the accused
Ms. B., Accused
Chris Ramsaroop, Student
Susan Lishingman, Administrative Assistant, University College
Endel Tulving, Expert Witness
Susan Bartkiw, Faculty of Arts and Science

Trial Division - s. B.i.1(d) and s. B.i.1(b) of Code – plagiarism and unauthorized aid – submitted test containing passages plagiarized from internet - portions of website unconsciously memorized from study notes and inadvertently reproduced in answers - hearing adjourned sine die - expert examination of memory abilities refused – expert opinion evidence – explanation not believable and no other explanation for reproduction of material – finding of guilt – no remorse because offence not admitted to – no prior offences - notation for same period as suspension because coursework for degree potentially completed before start of suspension - inappropriate to delay resumption of academic career beyond suspension - grade assignment of zero for course; two-year suspension; two-year notation on transcript; and report to Provost

Student charged under s. B.i.1(d), s. B.i.1(b), and alternatively, under s. B.i.3(b) of the Code. The charges related to allegations that the Student submitted a final test, portions of which were not written by her, and that during the test she used or possessed an unauthorized aid or obtained unauthorized assistance. The Student pleaded not guilty to the charges. It was not in dispute that passages in the Student’s examination booklet were identical to passages found from a website printout. The Student claimed that she unconsciously memorized portions of the website from her study notes and then inadvertently reproduced the material in her answers. The Panel adjourned the hearing sine die for the purposes of obtaining an expert examination of the Student’s memory abilities. The Student refused testing in the hearing interlude. The Panel accepted the qualifications of a human memory expert and considered his opinion evidence that it was not possible that a student could unconsciously memorize study notes. The Panel found that the Student’s explanation was not believable because the only other example of her remarkable memory offered was her mother’s recollection of her ability to give an oral presentation she had consciously memorized. The Panel found that while it did not how the Student accessed the website or her study notes during the period of the test, there was no other explanation for how the material was reproduced. The Panel found that the University has provided clear and convincing evidence that the Student violated the Code and found her guilty of the offences under s. B.i.1(d)and s. B.i.1(b) of the Code. The Panel found that the Student had not admitted the offences and therefore she had not shown any remorse for them, and that she had no prior offences. The Panel found that the notation of the imposed sanction on the Student’s transcript should only be for the same period as the suspension because the Student may potentially complete her coursework for her degree in the term in which the hearing occurred and that the effect of a three-year notation might be to delay the resumption of her academic career beyond the two-year period of the suspension, which would be inappropriate in the circumstances. The Panel imposed a grade of zero in the course; a two-year suspension; a two-year notation on the Students academic record and transcript; and that a report be issued to the Provost.