Case #04-05-05

DATE: information not available
PARTIES: University of Toronto v. Mr. Z.


Hearing Date(s): October 25 and November 4, 2004

Panel Members:
Julie K. Hannaford, Co-Chair
Stephane Mechoulan, Faculty Panel Member
Tina Wong, Student Panel Member

Appearances:
Jennifer Krotz, DLS, for the Student
Lily I. Harmer, for the University

Witness:
Tim Hutchinson, University of Saskatchewan
Joe Cox, Librarian, Faculty of Information Studies
Joan Cherry, Vice-Dean, Faculty of Information Studies
Chuan Luo, FIS student
C.Z., accused

Trial Division - s. B.i.1(d) of Code – plagiarism – quotes not cited in co-authored term paper – inability to understand proceedings due to English language difficulties - hearing adjourned by Panel - standard to which a graduate student ought reasonably to have known about the commission of an academic offence - requirement for in-text citation not required for research and writing assignments - unacceptable and inexcusable standard of citation throughout academic career without incident – flawed approach to citation honestly held – paper submitted in good faith – finding of guilt - sanctions imposed underlined importance of citations and emphasized Faculty efforts to stem plagiarism - oral and written reprimand delivered by Vice-Dean; requirement that paper be resubmitted with proper APA style citations; requirement that Student write a letter to each author referenced in paper; ten per cent grade reduction for course; notation on transcript until CO2, CO3, and CO4 courses completed; and report to Provost

Student charged under s. B.i.1(d), and alternatively, s. B.i.3(b) of the Code. The charges related to allegations that the Student submitted a term paper, co-authored with another student, the Student’s portion of which contained direct quotes which were not cited. The Panel stated its concerns with the Student’s inability to understand the proceedings and represent himself because of his difficulties with English. Notwithstanding the position of the parties, the Panel, of its own motion, adjourned the hearing to enable the Student to seek legal advice. It was not at issue that the paper contained direct quotes which were not cited. The issue in dispute was whether or not the Student ought reasonably to have known that he was committing an academic offence and the standard to which the University may reasonably hold a graduate student in that regard. The Panel considered that the assignment did not specifically advert to the requirement for in-text citation. The Panel observed that in text citation need not be required specifically in any research and writing assignment. The Panel considered the evidence of the Student, his co-author and the Student’s understanding of the concept of citation and found that the Student had developed a standard of citation that was less then acceptable and inexcusable but which had followed him through his career at the University without incident. The Panel stated its concern that a more rigorous enforcement of citation standards might have alerted the Student, and the student body in general, to the dangers of failing to recognize and cite sources properly. The Panel found that the Student’s approach to citation, although flawed, was honestly held and that he submitted his paper in good faith, and without any intention to portray the work of someone else as his own. The Panel entered a conviction combined with sanctions that underlined the importance of citations, emphasized and reinforced the efforts of the Faculty to stem plagiarism, promoted a higher standard of citation, and addressed the mischief of plagiarism. The Panel imposed an oral and written reprimand, delivered by the Vice-Dean; a requirement that the Student resubmit the paper with proper APA style citations; a requirement that the Student write a letter to each author referenced in the paper, acknowledging the reference made to the work, with a copy of the letters to be delivered to the Vice-Dean; a ten per cent reduction of the final grade in the course; a notation of the Student’s transcript to remain until the Student had completed courses CO2, CO3, and CO4 on citation, or equivalent courses; and that the decision of the Panel be published in its entirety, or alternatively, that the reasons for sanction be published.