Case #428

DATE: June 2006 (no specific date provided)
PARTIES: University of Toronto v. The Student


Hearing Date(s): May 3, 2006

Panel Members:
Mr. Ron Slaght, Chair
Prof. Melanie Woodin, Faculty Panel Member
Coralie D’Souza, Student Panel Member

Appearances:
Mr. Robert Centa, for the University
Ms Betty-Ann Cambell, assisting Mr. Centa
Professor Roger Beck, Dean’s Designate for Academic Discipline at UTM
The Student did not appear

Trial Division - s. B.i.1(d) and s. B.i.1(f) of Code – plagiarism and concoction - essay plagiarized from internet and containing concocted references – hearing not attended – reasonable notice of hearing – see Code and the Statutory Powers Procedures Act – finding of guilt - paper intentionally and knowingly concocted and efforts taken to disguise fact – finding of guilt - if process had been availed at decanal level then maximum penalty would have been one-year suspension - fair and relevant to consider choice not to engage in disciplinary process and that the matter might have been disposed of at decanal level - no mitigating evidence - University’s submission on penalty accepted – grade assignment of zero for course; two-year suspension; two-year notation on transcript; and report to Provost

Student charged under s. B.i.1(d), s. B.i.1(f), and alternatively, under s. B.i.3(b) of the Code. The charges related to allegations that the Student submitted an essay containing passages plagiarized from the internet and concocted references. The Student did not appear at the hearing and was not represented by counsel. The Panel considered records of correspondence and attempted correspondence, registered letters signed for by the Student and the fact that the Student’s address was considered by a private investigator, and found that the provisions in the Code and the Statutory Powers Procedures Act had been met and that the University could proceed in the Student’s absence. The Panel found that while ideally the Notice should have been given earlier then one week before the hearing, the history and the Student’s failure to respond to letters and documents known to have been received was sufficient to prove that reasonable notice was provided to the Student. The Panel considered the submission of the University and the testimony of the course professor and teaching assistant and found that the paper was the Student’s and was submitted by the Student or in her name with the intent that it be considered and graded. The Panel found that large passages from the essay were copied from unattributed sources on the internet and that the University had proved its charges under s. B.i.1(d) and s. B.i.1(f) of the Code. The Panel considered the evidence and a Book of Authorities and found that a two-year suspension and notation was appropriate. The Panel found that the Student intentionally and knowingly concocted the paper and took efforts to disguise the fact. The Panel observed that if the Student had availed herself of the process at the divisional level then a maximum penalty of a one-year suspension could have been imposed. The Panel found that it was fair and relevant to consider that the Student had chosen not to engage in the disciplinary process and that the matter might have been disposed of at the divisional level. The Panel found no mitigating evidence. The Panel accepted the University’s submission on penalty and imposed a grade of zero in the course; a two-year suspension; a two-year notation on the Student’s academic record and transcript; and that a report be issued to the Provost.