Case #652

DATE: November 12, 2012
PARTIES: University of Toronto v. M.O.

Hearing Date(s): August 20, 2012

Panel Members:
Mr. Jeffrey Leon, Chair
Prof. Pascal Van Lieshout, Faculty Member
Ms. Fikir Haile, Student Member

Mr. Robert Centa, Assistant Discipline Counsel for the University
Ms. Sierra Yates Robart, DLS for the Student

In Attendance:
Ms. M.O., the Student
Ms. Denise Cooney, Articling Student, Paliare Roland Barristers
Ms. Natalie Ramtahal, Coordinator, Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances

Trial Division – s. B.i.1(d) and s. B.i.1(f) of Code – plagiarism – passages from essay taken verbatim from secondary sources – Agreed Statement of Facts – guilty plea – finding of guilt – Joint Submission on Penalty – grade assignment of zero for course; three-year suspension; four-year notation on transcript or until graduation, whichever is later; report to Provost

Student charged under s. B.i.1(d) and s. B.i.1(f) of the Code. The charges related to allegations that the Student submitted an essay containing passages taken verbatim from various sources. The Parties submitted an Agreed Statement of Facts in which the Student pleaded guilty to the charges. The Panel found the Student guilty under s. B.i.1(d) and s. B.i.1(f). The Parties submitted a Joint Submission on Penalty. In discussing penalty, the Panel found it highly relevant that the Student had previously been suspended for one year for altering a University of Toronto medical certificate. The Panel accepted the Joint Submission, stating that it was mindful that a Joint Submission should be accepted unless to do so “would be contrary to the public interest or bring the administration of justice into disrepute” (R. v. Tsicos). The Panel found that the Student had accepted the seriousness of her conduct by pleading guilty and appearing at the hearing. Accordingly, the Panel concluded that the sanctions proposed by the Joint Submission were reasonable: a three-year suspension for a second offence is reasonable and promotes individual deterrence and general deterrence while allowing for the prospect of rehabilitation. The Panel imposed a grade assignment of zero for the course; a three-year suspension; a four-year notation on the transcript; and a report be issued to the Provost.