Case #631

DATE: November 25, 2011
PARTIES: University of Toronto v. Y.K.


Hearing Date(s): October 27, 2011

Panel Members:
Lisa Brownstone, Chair
Prof. Bruno Magliocchetti, Faculty Member
Mr. Shakir Rahim, Student Member


Appearances:
Ms. Lily Harmer, Assistant Discipline Counsel for the University
Mr. Kenneth Raddatz, DLS for the Student


In Attendance:
Ms. Y.K., the Student
Dr. Kristi Gourlay, Academic Integrity Officer

Ms. Natalie Ramtahal, Coordinator, Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances

Trial Division – s. B.i.1(d) of Code – plagiarism – coursework plagiarized from another student and internet sources – agreed statement of facts – guilty plea – finding of guilt based on Agreed Statement of Facts –Student acknowledged need to address her limited writing ability – Undertaking to complete writing workshops – Joint Submission on Penalty – concern that undertaking may be viewed as an excuse for misbehaviour – Student’s willingness to work with University toward rehabilitation and remediation is a mitigating factor – Joint Submission on Penalty accepted – grade assignment of zero for each of the two courses; three-year suspension; four-year notation on transcript or until graduation; and 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 copied a significant portions of a course assignment from another student and that the Student copied significant portions of a course assignment for a different course from various websites. 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) 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) of the Code and accepted the withdrawal of the charge under s. B.i.1(b) and s. B.i.3(b). The parties submitted an Agreed Statement of Facts on Sanction which indicated that the Student was currently serving a one-year suspension for an academic offence and that the Student acknowledged she needed to take steps to address her limited writing ability and be fully aware of her obligations as a student. The parties also submitted an undertaking executed by the Student which required her to complete workshops at the University of Toronto Writing Centre. The Student acknowledged on the Undertaking that the sanction sought by the University is in reliance of her Undertaking. The parties submitted a Joint Submission on Penalty. The Panel found that the joint submission is within the appropriate range of penalty and accepted the submission. However, the Panel stated its concern that while an undertaking can be a useful tool in penalty and rehabilitation, its use should not be viewed as an excuse for the misbehaviour. Nonetheless, the Panel found that the Student’s willingness to work with the University toward rehabilitation and remediation is a mitigating factor in considering appropriate sanction. The Panel imposed a grade of zero in each of the two courses; a three-year suspension, a four-year notation on the Student’s academic record and transcript (or until graduation, whichever was to occur first); and that a report be issued to the Provost.