Case #595

DATE: October 12, 2010
PARTIES: University of Toronto v. S.K.


Hearing Date(s): September 24, 2010

Panel Members:
Bonnie Goldberg, Chair
Professor Louis Florence, Faculty Member
Vy Nguyen, Student Member

Appearances:
Lily Harmer, Assistant Discipline Counsel for the University
Betty-Ann Campbell, Law Clerk, Paliare Roland Barristers
Professor Eleanor Irwin, Dean’s Designate
Rita Pearsall, Associate Registrar
Don MacMilan, Former Registrar
Elena Maltseva, Teaching Assistant

Trial Division – s. B.I.1(b); s. B.I.3(b) of Code – unauthorized exam aids – exam notes – old exam booklet – peremptory hearing – reasonable notice of hearing given – Statutory Powers Procedure Act – hearing not attended – finding on evidence of guilt – no prior academic offence – University submission on penalty rejected – longer suspension imposed – sentencing principle – pre-meditation – possession of an unauthorized aid – use of an unauthorized aid – Sopinka principles – expectation of knowledge and understanding of academic integrity – failure to participate in any stage of the process – nature of the offence – importance of deterrence – grade assignment of zero for course; three-year suspension; four-year notation on transcript; and report to Provost

Student charged with two offences under s. B.I.1(b) and s. B.I.3(b) of the Code. The charges related to the allegation that the Student possessed an unauthorized exam aid in the form of an old exam answer booklet that contained notes. The Panel was convened on a peremptory basis to consider the charges laid against the Student. The University introduced the Notice of Hearing given to the Student and advised it had had no contact with the Student. The University led evidence in form of an affidavit, accompanied by extensive documentation of the Discipline Counsel and the Division’s attempts to locate the Student. The Panel accepted that the Division attempted to schedule a meeting with the Student on multiple occasions. After approximately 9 months, the Student contacted the Professor’s office. The Student ultimately did not attend the meeting. The Panel further accepted that for a period of four months Discipline Counsel for the University attempted to contact the Student using information she had listed on the student information system. The Student was provided with a Notice of Hearing for a scheduled hearing date. At the Student’s request, the hearing was adjourned and a later hearing scheduled and made peremptory. A Notice of Hearing was sent to the Student regarding this hearing. The Student did not attend the hearing. The University submitted that notice given to the Student was reasonable and in accordance with the requirements of the Statutory Powers Procedure Act. The University relied on a University of Toronto policy that students are responsible for maintaining a current mailing address on the student information system in this matter. The Panel concluded that reasonable notice had been provided and proceeded in the Student’s absence. The University submitted that there was enough evidence to conclude that the Student more than likely brought the additional answer booklet into the examination, that the booklet contained notes, and that the Student used these notes to answer examination questions. The Panel found that the University proved on a balance of probabilities that the Student possessed and used unauthorized aids. The Panel found the Student guilty of the offence under s. B.I.1(b). Charges under s. B.I.3(b) were withdrawn. The Panel rejected the University Submission on Penalty and chose to impose a longer suspension and notation period than that requested by the University. The Panel considered the case of Mr. C. and the Sopinka principles in its decision on penalty. The Panel noted the actions were pre-meditated; the Student both possessed and used the unauthorized aid; the Student had been enrolled for several semesters and would have been expected to know the University’s expectations with respect to academic integrity at the time of the offences; the Student had failed to participate in any stage of the process and the Panel had no evidence of mitigating factors; and that the nature of the offence undermines the reputation of the University and the work of other students. The Panel imposed a final grade of zero in the Course, a three-year suspension, a four-year notation of the academic misconduct on the Student’s academic record, and that a report to the Provost be issued.