Case #439

DATE: February 15, 2007
PARTIES: University of Toronto v. The Student

Hearing Date(s): November 29, 2006

Panel Members:
Mr. Ronald G. Slaght, Q.C., Chair
Professor Melanie Woodin, Faculty Panel Member
Ms. Sujata Pokhrel, Student Panel Member

Ms. Lily Harmer for the University of Toronto
The Student, did not appear

Trial Division - s. B.i.1(d) and s. B.i.1(f) of Code - plagiarism and concoction - course work - fraud in attempting to convocate – hearing not attended – reasonable notice of hearing – see Code and the Statutory Powers Procedure Act – finding of guilt - second academic offence – blog demonstrated distain for university values – academic status counted against rather than ameliorated penalty – no evidence of extenuating circumstances – systematic and calculated acts over a period of time - attempt to graduate under false statements and subterfuge – grade assignment of zero for course; recommendation that the Student be expelled as per s. C.ii.(b)(i) of Code; and report to Provost

Student charged with seven offences under s. B.i.1(d), one offence under s. B.i.1(f), and alternatively, with seven offences under s. B.i.3(b) of the Code. The charges related to allegations that the Student committed acts of plagiarism and concoction in a major essay, and plagiarism in a series of short papers, and that she committed a fraud by attempting to convocate and mislead convocation officials. The Student did not attend and was not represented at the hearing. The Panel considered whether the University’s attempts to provide the Student with notice was reasonable and whether they met the requirements set out in the Code and the Statutory Powers Procedure Act. The Panel noted that the University went beyond the records provided in ROSI and found that that the charges and notice emailed to the Student were brought to her attention and that the use of the email address was a reasonable way to communicate with her. The Panel noted that the University might have attempted to find the Student’s address through the foreign university where she was studying or through her blog. The Panel considered evidence from witnesses and reviewed the documents in issue and found that the Student had been guilty of the 7 acts of plagiarism and of fraudulently attempting to convocate. The Student had previously been sanctioned for an act of plagiarism. The Panel considered evidence from a “blog” and found that the Student had written the blog, on which she had commented on her earlier acknowledgement of plagiarism and the ease with which it was accomplished. The Panel considered the Student’s academic status and found that her seniority should count against her rather than ameliorate any penalty because she had failed to attend the hearing, demonstrated disdain for the values of the University, and appeared impervious to the influences of University life, the core values of the University and the need for honesty in student life. The Panel found that there was nothing provided in mitigation; the acts committed were systematic, calculated and carried out over a period of time; the offence was the Student’s second; and she attempted to graduate under a further series of false statements and subterfuge. The Panel imposed a recommendation to the President, further to s. C.ii.(b)(i) of the Code, that the Student be expelled from the University; a grade of zero in the course; and that a report be issued to the Provost.