Case #362

DATE: September 21, 2005
PARTIES: University of Toronto v. the Student


Hearing Date(s): March 29, 2005

Panel Members:
Jane Pepino, C.M., Q.C., Chair
Daniel Brooks, Faculty Panel Member
Indra Muthu, Student Panel Member

Appearances:
Lily Harmer, for the University of Toronto
The Student, appearing on his own behalf

Witnesses:
Lorraine Bruce, PhD. Student, Teaching Assistant and Tutor, Department of Philosophy
Stephen Lam, Invigilator for Accessibility Services Examination Centre
Don Waterfall, Professor, Department of Philosophy
Ulrich Wortmann, Department of Geology

Advisers to Discipline Counsel:
Gregory Evans, Acting Vice-Dean, Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering
Will Bawden, Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering

Trial Division - s. B.i.3(b), s. B.i.1(d), s. B.i.1(b), s. B.i.3(a), s. B.ii.2 and s. B.i.3(b) of Code – unauthorized aid, forged document and plagiarism – four separate incidents – finding of guilt on charges under s. B.ii.2 and s. B.i.3(b) of the Code – not guilty under s. B.i.1(b) – unable to obtain unauthorized assistance as planned - polished nature of submitted paper - no credible proof that it was draft paper – plagiarized paper submitted for marking as final version - finding of guilt on charges under s. B.i.1(d) and s. B.i.3(b) – sections of field reports lifted from other students reports - acknowledgement from other students that copy of assignments were requested – lack of credible explanation – finding of guilt under s. B.i.1(d) and s. B.i.3(b) of the Code - systematic, premeditated pattern of conduct - unaware of nature or seriousness of actions - grade assignment of zero for two courses; recommendation that the Student be expelled as per s. C.ii.(b)(i) of Code; five-year suspension pending expulsion decision; and report to Provost

Student charged with three offences under s. B.i.3(b), two offences under s. B.i.1(d), one offence under s. B.i.1(b), one offence under s. B.i.1(b), one offence under s. B.i.3(a), and alternatively, four offences under s. B.i.3(b) and one offence under s. B.ii.2 of the Code. The charges related to four separate incidents. With regard to the first incident, the Student was alleged to have attempted, and used, an unauthorized aid on a closed book exam at the Accessibility Services Department. With regard to the second incident, the Student was alleged to have submitted a forged, altered or falsified examination. With regard to the third incident, the Student was alleged to have submitted an essay that contained plagiarism. With regard to the fourth incident, the Student was alleged to have submitted a field report which was copied from the work of others. The Student pleaded not guilty to the charges related to the first, third and fourth incidents and guilty to the charges related to the second incident. The Panel considered the submissions of the parties, witnesses from the University and the Student’s testimony on his own behalf. With regard to the first incident, the Panel considered the evidence of the exam invidulator and found that the Student had both intended, and did engage in academic misconduct and was guilty on the charges under s. B.ii.2 and s. B.i.3(b) of the Code. The Panel found the Student not guilty on the charge under s. B.i.1(b) of the Code because of the fact that he had failed to secret his previously prepared pieces of paper into the exam, and because of the poor state of the one page document he handed in, it was clear that he had not been able, despite planning, to obtain unauthorized assistance. With regard to the second incident, the Panel reviewed a copy of an original exam booklet, which was submitted by the Student to his course professor, and the Student’s guilty plea to the charges related to the incident. The Panel observed that no evidence was led as to the circumstances surrounding why the course professor was provided with a full version of an exam booklet, but a document book labeled “TERM” and bearing the phrase “scrap” was handed in to Accessibility Services the prior day. With regard to the third incident, the Panel considered the evidence of the Student’s teaching assistant, the paper as submitted by the Student, and the Student’s claim that he had made a mistake and submitted his draft instead of the final report. The Panel considered the polished nature of the submitted paper and the lack of any credible explanation or proof that it was a draft and found that the Student submitted, for marking as a final version, a plagiarized paper and that he was guilty on the charges under s. B.i.1(d) and s. B.i.3(b) of the Code. With regard to the forth incident, the Panel considered the field trip report submitted by the Student against the reports prepared by two other students, and the evidence of the course professor indicating that the other students had acknowledged that the Student had asked for a copy of their assignment, and found that the Student lifted, holus bolus, entire sections of the field reports of the other students. The Panel considered the evidence and the lack of a credible explanation on the part of the Student, and found him guilty under s. B.i.1(d) and s. B.i.3(b) of the Code. The Panel found that the Student’s conduct was systematic, premeditated and constituted a pattern of conduct which made him unworthy to continue within the academic community. He was unaware of the nature or seriousness of his actions and twice committed one of the most serious academic offences: he had stolen the thoughts of others. The Panel accepted the University’s submission on penalty and imposed a grade of zero in the two courses; a recommendation to the President, further to s. C.ii.(b)(i) of the Code, that the Student be expelled from the University; a suspension of up to five-years pending the expulsion decision; and that a report be issued to the Provost.