Case #602

DATE: May 6, 2011
PARTIES: University of Toronto v. K.H.


Hearing Date(s): August 18, 2010

Panel Members:
Mr. Michael Hines, Chair
Professor Charmaine Williams, Faculty Member
Ms. Jorge Prieto, Student Member


Appearances:
Mr. Rob Centa, Assistant Discipline Counsel for the University
Ms. Camille Labchuk, DLS for the Student


In Attendance:
Dr. Kristi Gourley, manager, Office of Student Academic Integrity
Dr. Martha Harris, Academic Integrity Officer, Office of Student Academic Integrity

Mr. Christopher Lang, Director, Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances


Trial Division - s. B.i.1(d), s. B.i.1(b), and s. B.i.3(b) of Code – plagiarism – course work purchased from commercial provider of essays – guilty plea – Agreed Statement of Facts – no prior academic offence – rejected sanction proposed by the Student as it was no hardship – submitting an essay purchased from another is one of the most egregious offences – need to balance deterrence with rehabilitation – considered CHK and S.P. – absent the most exceptional circumstances, sanction should be expulsion unless the Student promptly acknowledges their wrongdoing, which the Student did in this case – Panel would have imposed expulsion had the Student been a repeat offender – grade assignment of zero; five-year suspension; seven-year notation on transcript; report to Provost

Student charged under s. B.i.1(d), s. B.i.1(b), and alternatively, under s. B.i.3(b) of the Code. The charges related to allegations that the Student submitted an essay purchased from a commercial provider of academic essays. The parties agreed on the facts relating to the offences. The Student admitted to having committed the offences as set out in s. B.i.1(d), s. B.i.1(b), and s. B.i.3(b) of the Code and pleaded guilty to the charges. The Panel found the Student guilty of the offences under s. B.i.1(d) and s. B.i.1(b) of the Code and accepted the withdrawal of the charge under s. B.i.3(b). As for sanction, the Provost sought a recommendation for expulsion coupled with an immediate five-year suspension. The Student submitted that he should receive a mark of zero for the course and a two to three-year suspension. The Student claimed that he was one credit short of receiving his degree, he had received notice that he would be required to serve in the South Korean military for a period of two years, and that should he fail the course, it would be very hard for him to come back after two years only for the purpose of obtaining one credit. He claimed that his lack of confidence in his ability to pass the course coupled with the consequences of failure led him to purchase the essay. The Student had never been convicted of an academic offence. The Panel stated that the sanction suggested by the Student is wholly inadequate as it would work no hardship on him given the fact that he would be serving in the military anyway during the proposed period of the suspension. The Panel stated that the decision to be made is between expulsion and a five-year suspension. The Panel agreed that purchasing and submitting an essay prepared by another is one of the most egregious offences but also stated the need to balance general deterrence with the objective of rehabilitation. In the Panel’s view, absent the most exceptional circumstances, a guilty student should only be able to avoid expulsion by demonstrating an ability to reform their behaviour with a prompt acknowledgement of his or her wrongdoing when confronted, which the Student did in this case. Had the Student been a repeat offender, the Panel would have imposed a recommendation for expulsion. The Panel differentiated this case from CHK in that the Student had no prior conviction and also from S.P. that the Student acknowledged his wrongdoing promptly. The Panel imposed a grade of zero in the course; a five-year suspension; a seven-year notation on the Student’s transcript; and that a report be issued to the Provost.