Case #599

DATE: June 29, 2010
PARTIES: University of Toronto v. H.B.


Hearing Date(s): June 11, 2010

Panel Members:
Lisa Brownstone, Chair
Professor Lesley Lavack, Faculty Member
Mir Sadek Ali, Student Member

Appearances:
Robert Centa, Assistant Discipline Counsel for the University
Daniel Goldbloom, DLS for the Student
H.B., the Student

In Attendance:
Lucy Gaspini, Academic Affairs Officer

Trial Division – s. B.I.1(b); s. B.I.3(b) of Code– unauthorized exam aid – handwritten formulae – hearing attended –Agreed Statement of Facts – guilty plea – Joint Submission on Penalty – Joint Submission on Penalty accepted – prior academic offences – third academic offence – clear warning – co-operated with process – genuine remorse – accepted responsibility – 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. Charges relate to the allegations that the Student knowingly possessed an unauthorized aid during a final exam. The Student was charged to have possessed a calculator with formulae written in pencil on the inside cover during an exam. The formulae were relevant to questions on the exam and the Student was not permitted to possess those formulae during the exam. The Panel was provided with an Agreed Statement of Facts signed by the Student and counsel for the University. In the Agreed Statement of Facts, the Student admitted to committing the academic offences under s. B.I.1(b) and s. B.I.3(b) of the Code. After the Panel accepted the Student’s guilty plea, the University withdrew the charge under s. B.I.3(b). Counsel for the University noted two previous incidents of academic misconduct. First, two years prior, the Student had committed the academic offence of plagiarism involving the improper citation in an essay. Second, also two years prior, the Student had committed plagiarism in the same course as the first incident of plagiarism. The Panel heard information about the Student’s personal situation, including the fact she was taking six classes and working 10-12 hours per week part-time during the time of the incident, that, since the date of the exam, she had been suffering from stress and medical issues, that following the resolution of her second plagiarism offence, the Student’s grades had improved, and that throughout the disciplinary process the Student had sought a speedy resolution to the charges. The Student read a statement to the Panel in which she accepted responsibility and expressed remorse for her actions, further describing the effects of her conduct and of the sanctions upon her. The Panel considered the mitigating and aggravating factors in the case. An important aggravating factor was the fact that the Student had committed two prior offences involving academic dishonesty. The Panel found the Student was warned very clearly that aids in the exam were not permitted. Mitigating factors heard included the entering of a guilty plea by the Student, and the Student’s cooperation, acceptance of responsibility, and genuine remorse. Considering all of these factors, the Panel found the Joint Submission on Penalty was appropriate. The Panel imposed a grade assignment of zero for the course, a three-year suspension, a four-year notation on the Student’s transcript and that a report to the Provost be issued.