Case #1017

DATE: November 26, 2019

PARTIES: University of Toronto v. K.D

HEARING DATE: August 27, 2019

Panel Members:
Mr. R.S.M. Woods, Chair
Dr. Ian Crandall, Faculty Member
Ms. Madison Bruno, Student Member

Appearances:
Mr. Robert Centa, Assistant Discipline Counsel, Paliare Roland Rosenberg Rothstein LLP

In Attendance:
Ms. Krista Osbourne, Administrative Clerk and Hearing Secretary, Office of Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances

Not in Attendance:
The Student

The Student was charged with academic misconduct under s. B.i.3(a) of the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters, 1995 (the “Code”) on the basis that they knowingly falsified, circulated or made use of two forged academic records, namely, a document purporting to be a degree certificate and a document purporting to be a transcript of consolidated academic record from the University.

Neither the Student nor a legal representative of the Student appeared at the hearing. Based on the evidence provided by the University of service of the charges, amended charges and notice of the hearing on the Student to the Student’s email and mailing addresses in the Repository of Student Information (ROSI), the Tribunal was satisfied that the Student had been given adequate notice of the hearing in compliance with the University Tribunal Rules of Practice and Procedure.

The University tendered an affidavit from the Manager of the University’s Transcript Centre, which stated that the Transcript Centre had received an inquiry from a third party institution regarding the authenticity of a number of transcripts submitted as part of applications for admission to that institution, including an application from the Student. The third party sent the Manager a copy of the purported transcript and degree certificate submitted by the Student. Upon review of the transcript and degree certificate and the Student’s academic record in ROSI, the Manager concluded that the documents were not authentic; the purported transcript was not issued by the University and the University had never issued a degree to the Student. The Tribunal was satisfied based on the evidence that the University had discharged its burden to establish that the academic offences charged had been committed by the Student. While it had no direct evidence that the Student personally forged the transcript and degree certificate, the Panel stated that in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, it was prepared to draw the inference from the evidence that the Student had knowingly forged both documents.

The Panel stated that forging and circulating both a transcript and degree certificate are extremely serious offences. Forged certificates damage the University’s reputation, undermine the trust prospective employers and other academic institutions have in the University and its students, and harm students who have earned their degrees by forcing them to compete for positions against students who have not earned the qualifications they claim to hold. There was no evidence before the Tribunal of any factor mitigating against the imposition of a penalty consistent with the penalties imposed by the Tribunal in similar cases.

The Tribunal imposed the following sanctions: immediate suspension for a period of five years; recommendation of expulsion from the University; and publication by the Provost of a notice of the decision and sanctions imposed with the Student’s name withheld.