Case #593

DATE: September 3, 2010
PARTIES: University of Toronto v. D.D.


Hearing Date(s): July 26, 2010

Panel Members:
Ira Parghi, Chair
Professor Dionne Aleman, Faculty Panel Member
Uthra Mohan, Student Panel Member

Appearances:
Robert Centa, Assistant Discipline Counsel, for the University
D.D., the Student

In Attendance:
Professor Sam Solecki, Dean’s Designate
Ms. Jessica Latimer, Articling Student, Paliare Roland Barristers

Trial Division – s. B.I.3.(a); s. B.I.3(b); s. B.I.1(a) of Code – altered or falsified academic record – altered or falsified Academic History – altered or falsified resume – altered or falsified application – Student not represented by counsel – Agreed Statement of Facts – guilty plea – finding of guilt – University Submission on Penalty – Sopinka principles – nature of the offence – University’s reputation and credibility – principle of general deterrence – no extenuating circumstances – University submission on penalty accepted - five-year suspension; recommendation to the President that the Student be expelled; and report to Provost

Student charged with six offences under s. B.I.3(a), s. B.I.3(b) and s. B.I.1(a) of the Code. The charges related to the allegations that the Student altered his academic record, misrepresented his academic standing on an application to a summer research program, and misrepresented his academic standing on his résumé. The falsified academic record included misrepresented grades, incorrect credit requirements, and misrepresented sessional, cumulative, and annual grade point averages. In support of the falsified academic record, the Student included a resumé incorrectly stating that he had been placed on the Dean’s list in each year of the Student’s study. The Student and the University submitted an Agreed Statement of Facts. Pursuant to the Agreed Statement of Facts, the Student pleaded guilty to five charges: one charge under s. B.I.3(a), two charges under s. B.I.3(b), and two charges under s. B.I.1(a). The University agreed that, if the Panel convicted the Student of three charges, specifically, the two charges under s. B.I.1.(a) and the charge under s. B.I.3(a), they would withdraw the remaining charges. The Panel reviewed the Agreed Statement of Facts and found the Student guilty of three offences under s. B.I.1.(a) and s. B.I.3(a) and agreed to accept the guilty pleas in respect to those charges. The remaining charges were withdrawn. The University Submission on Penalty suggested a five year suspension, a recommendation of expulsion, and that the case be reported to the Provost. The Student characterized the University Submission on Penalty as excessively harsh and argued a significant suspension would be more appropriate. Drawing on the Sopinka principles as articulated in the case The University of Toronto and Mr. C., the Panel concluded the sanction sought by the University was appropriate. The Panel articulated concern about the seriousness of the Student’s offences. The Panel held that forging or falsifying academic history was among the most serious offences a student can commit as the University’s reputation hinges on the reliability of its official records. The Panel noted the scope of the offences, a total of 56 changes to the academic record, as significant. The Panel further noted that the acts entailed a subjective intention and obvious planning. The offences took place over a period of time and did not result from a single, ill-advised decision. The offences further took place as part of an effort to obtain an advantage in applying to a University program, damaging the University and other students. The Panel noted that the University Submission on Penalty would serve as a deterrence to others who may contemplate similar actions. Finally, the Panel found no evidence of extenuating circumstances. The Panel noted that the Student cooperated with the Tribunal process, entered into an Agreed Statement of Facts, and characterized his actions as wrong but found that these factors alone did not warrant a mitigated penalty. The Panel noted that the Student seemed primarily concerned with rehabilitating his academic career and was not concerned with the seriousness of the offences. The Panel concluded that the University Submission on Penalty was appropriate and imposed a five-year suspension, a recommendation to the President that the Student be expelled from the University, and that a report to the Provost be issued.