Case #547

DATE: September 10, 2009
PARTIES: University of Toronto v. X.P.Z.

Hearing Date(s): May 4, 2009

Panel Members:
Ms. Kirby Chown, Chair
Prof. Paul Cooper, Faculty Member
Mr. Nikola Cunjak, Student Member

Mr. Robert Centa, Assistant Discipline Counsel for the University

Trial Division - s. B.i.1(d) of Code – plagiarism – course work – hearing not attended – reasonable notice of hearing – see Code and Statutory Powers Procedure Act – paper plagiarized from internet – finding of guilt – serious act of plagiarism – no remorse – non-cooperation – see case of Re: University of Toronto v. A.K. and case of re: Ms. O.K – two-year suspension threshold appropriate – length of notation varied – grade assignment of zero for course; two-year suspension; two-year notation; and report to Provost

Student charged under s. B.i.1(d), and alternatively, under s. B.i.3(b) of the Code. The charges related to allegations that the Student submitted a research paper plagiarized from internet sources. The Student did not attend the Hearing and did not respond to the charges. The Panel considered the evidence of a law clerk who claimed to have personally served the Student with the Notice of Hearing and found that the relevant provisions of the Code and in the Statutory Powers Procedure Act had been met and that the Hearing would proceed in the Student’s absence. The Panel considered the evidence of the University’s witnesses and a review of the research paper against the alleged internet sources of the plagiarism. The Panel found that plagiarized material comprised most of the Student’s paper and that the Student failed to cite the websites from which he took the material in question. The Panel found the Student guilty of the offence under s. B.i.1(d) of the Code. The Panel considered that the offence was for a serious count of plagiarism; that the Student had shown no remorse or acceptance of responsibility and had declined to attend the hearing; that he had no prior academic offences; the detriment to the University occasioned by the offence; and the need to deter others from committing a similar offence. The Panel considered the cases of Re: University of Toronto v. A.K. and re: Ms. O.K. and found that a two-year suspension threshold for a first time offence of plagiarism was the appropriate sanction but that the notation should be on the Student’s transcript for a period of two-years rather than three. The Panel imposed a mark 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.