Case #1031

DATE: November 11, 2019
PARTIES: University of Toronto v. S.K.
September 16, 2019

Panel Members:
Mr. F. Paul Morrison, Chair
Dr. Chris Koenig-Woodyard, Faculty Panel Member
Ms. Julie Farmer, Student Panel Member

Ms. Lauren Pearce, Assistant Discipline Counsel, Paliare Roland Rosenberg Rothstein LLP

In Attendance:
Krista Kennedy, Administrative Clerk and Hearing Secretary, Office of the Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances

Not in Attendance:
The Student

The Student was charged with plagiarism under s. B.i.1(d) of the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters, 1995 (the “Code”) on the basis that she knowingly represented the work of another as her own, in an essay submitted for academic credit.

The Student entered a guilty plea to the charge. The Student did not appear at the hearing but had executed a Consent which recorded that the Student did not wish to attend or participate further in the proceedings. The parties entered an Agreed Statement of Facts (ASF). The Student admitted in the ASF that she knowingly submitted an essay for academic credit which included, without attribution, verbatim or nearly verbatim passages from a graduate thesis by another student. The Tribunal accepted the Student’s guilty plea.

The parties submitted a Joint Submission on Penalty. The Panel noted that the University had sanctioned the Student for two prior academic offences. It further noted that a panel is not obliged to accept a Joint Submission and that it remains the obligation of the Panel to impose a fit sentence in the circumstances of every case. The Panel stated, however, that the companion obligation by which a Panel is equally bound is that a Joint Submission may be rejected only in circumstances where to give effect to it would be contrary to the public interest or bring the administration of justice into disrepute. Only if a Joint Submission is truly unreasonable or unconscionable should it be rejected. The University filed a chart synthesizing the penalties imposed in comparable cases, and the Panel stated that it accepted that the penalty proposed was justifiably comparable to the penalties imposed in the comparable cases. The Panel accepted the Joint Submission of the parties.

The Tribunal imposed the following sanctions: a final grade of zero in the affected course; a suspension from the University until April 30, 2023; and a notation of the sanction on the Student’s academic record and transcript until April 30, 2024. The Tribunal also ordered that the case be reported to the Provost for publication of a notice of the decision and the sanctions imposed, with the name of the Student withheld.