DATE: February 22, 2019
PARTIES: University of Toronto v. Q.H.
Hearing Date: November 22, 2018
Ms. Amanda Heale, Chair
Prof. Margaret MacNeill, Faculty Member
Ms. Ching Yi Cho, Student Member
Ms. Tina Lie, Assistant Discipline Counsel, Paliare Roland Rosenberg Rothstein LLP
Mr. Gianluca de Gasperi Delpino, Legal Representative for the Student, Downtown Legal Services
Ms. Q. H., the Student
Ms. Krista Osbourne, Administrative Clerk and Hearing Secretary, Office of Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances
Trial Division – s. B.I.1(d) of Code – plagiarism – Agreed Statement of Facts – guilty plea – Agreed Statement of Facts on Penalty – three prior academic offences – Joint Submission on Penalty – undertaking by Student to complete academic and writing skills training upon return to University - final grade of zero in the course; three-year suspension; notation of sanction on transcript; publication of notice of decision and sanctions with Student’s name withheld.
The Student was charged with one offence of plagiarism contrary to s. B.I.1(d) of the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters, 1995 (the “Code”) on the basis that she submitted an assignment in a course knowing that it contained ideas, expressions of ideas or work that were not her own, but were the ideas, expressions of ideas or work of others, including a student who had previously submitted an assignment in the same course. In the alternative, the Student was charged with one offence of unauthorized aid or receiving assistance under s. B.I.1(b) of the Code. In the further alternative, the Student was charged with one offence of cheating for academic advantage under s. B.I.3(b) of the Code.
Based on an Agreed Statement of Facts submitted by the parties, the Panel concluded that the charge of plagiarism under s. B.I.1(d) of the Code had been proven with clear and convincing evidence on a balance of probabilities. The Panel accepted the Student’s guilty plea in respect of the charge. The University withdrew the remaining alternative charges.
The parties submitted an Agreed Statement of Facts on Penalty setting out particulars of three prior academic offences. Two prior offences involved plagiarism and were committed in the same course. The third prior offence, which took place contemporaneously with the instant plagiarism offence, was of aiding another to commit the offence of unauthorized assistance with respect to an assignment. The Student admitted to that offence and sanctions were previously imposed.
By way of a Joint Submission on Penalty (JSP), the parties submitted that the Tribunal should impose the following sanctions on the Student: a final grade of zero in the course; a 3-year suspension from the University; a notation of the sanctions on the Student’s academic record until graduation; publication by the Provost of a notice of decision and sanctions imposed, with the Student’s name withheld. In the JSP, the Student also undertook to complete at least six programs or workshops offered by the University to improve academic and writing skills within the first two terms in which she was next registered for a course at the University.
Noting the high threshold required for a Tribunal to deviate from a joint submission on penalty, the Panel concluded that the JSP was reasonable in light of the nature of the offence, as well as the prior, similar offences committed by the Student. The Panel also stated that the Student’s cooperation in the process and her undertaking to improve her academic and writing skills were both mitigating factors demonstrating that the Student had accepted responsibility for her conduct. The Panel imposed a final grade of zero in the course; a 3-year suspension from the University; a notation of the sanction on the Student’s academic record and transcript until graduation; publication by the Provost of a notice of decision and the sanction imposed, with student’s name withheld.