Case #609

DATE: March 11, 2012
PARTIES: University of Toronto v. S.O.


Hearing Date(s): February 21, 2012

Panel Members:
Mr. Clifford Lax, Chair
Prof. Dionne Aleman, Faculty Member
Mr. Jake Brockman, Student Member


Appearances:
Ms. Lily Harmer, Assistant Discipline Counsel for the University
Prof. Marc Cadotte, Instructor

Mr. Nicholas Mirotchnick, TA

Prof. Mary Olaveson, Dept of Life Sciences

Dr. John Harper, Systems and Networking, Information and Instructional Technology Services, UTSC

Mr. Ali Choudhry, Student at UTSC In Attendance:
Dr. Eleanor Irwin, Deans' Designate
Ms. Natalie Ramtahal, Coordinator, Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances

Trial Division – s. B.i.1(b) and s. B.i.1(c) of Code – unauthorized aids and impersonation – impersonated a professor to obtain a copy of a midterm test and the answer key – hearing not attended – reasonable notice provided – evidence from the computer systems manager – Student denied the charges – wide ranging and serious damaging repercussions to the University community – plagiarism offence – innocent classmate under suspicion – finding of guilt based on evidence – offences are of brazen nature – need for general deterrence – grade assignment of zero for courses; five-year suspension; recommendation that the Student be expelled; permanent notation on transcript; report to Provost

Student charged under s. B.i.1(b) and s. B.i.1(c) of the Code. The charges related to allegations that the Student impersonated a professor to obtain a copy of an upcoming midterm and the answer key. The Student did not attend the hearing. The University informed the Student of the allegations at the Dean’s meeting, provided notice through his UToronto email account as well as his other email account. The University also spoke with his mother who acknowledged that she would convey him the message. The Panel concluded that reasonable notice had been provided. The Panel found the evidence overwhelming that the Student personated a professor and obtained the midterm test and the answer key. The manager of computer systems at the University provided evidence that the Student personated a faculty member as well as used his computer to hack into the University’s system. Having obtained the answer key, the Student received a perfect score on the midterm, a significant improvement from his previous midterm mark of 44%. The Student denied the charges, and the Panel stated that the Student’s conduct as well as his protestations had wide ranging and serious damaging repercussions to the University community, including the professors involved and his classmates. Within a month of being confronted with the allegations, the Student committed plagiarism by submitting his classmate’s assignment as his own, causing suspicion to fall on the innocent classmate. On the basis of the evidence, the Panel found the Student guilty under s. B.i.1(b) and s. B.i.1(c). The Panel stressed the need for general deterrence by stating that the brazen nature of both offences requires a penalty which leaves no doubt that the Student’s behaviour is wholly unacceptable. The Panel imposed a grade-assignment of zero in the two courses; a five-year suspension; a recommendation that the Student be expelled; a permanent notation on the Student’s transcript; and a report be issued to the Provost.