Case #655

DATE: October 24, 2012
PARTIES: University of Toronto v. P.T.


Hearing Date(s): September 26, 2012

Panel Members:
Ms. Wendy Matheson, Chair
Prof. Louis Florence, Faculty Member
Ms. Eleni Patsakos, Student Member


Appearances:
Mr. Robert Centa, Assistant Discipline Counsel for the University
Mr. Jeremy Burgess, DLS for the Student


In Attendance:
P.T., the Student
Ms. Lucy Gaspini, Manager Academic Affairs, UTM

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

Trial Division – s. B.i.3(b), s. B.i.1(b) and (d) of Code – unauthorized aid and plagiarism – three offences: cheated on an assignment; had a cell phone in possession during an exam; and submitted an essay containing passages taken verbatim – Agreed Statement of Facts – guilty plea – finding of guilt – Joint Submission on Penalty – penalty would only delay graduation without the Student having to do further coursework and demonstrate that he had learned from the experience – Panel would have considered a more severe penalty absent the joint submission – high threshold for rejecting a joint submission not met – grade assignment of zero for two courses and 50% for one course; three-year suspension; three-year notation on transcript; report to Provost

Student charged under s. B.i.1(b) and (d) of the Code. The charges related to allegations that the Student altered the date on an assignment to mislead the instructor (Course 1), had an iPhone in possession during an exam (Course 2), and submitted an essay containing passages taken verbatim from secondary sources (Course 3). The Parties submitted an Agreed Statement of Facts, and the Student pleaded guilty to the charges. The Panel found the Student guilty under s. B.i.3(b), s. B.i.1(b), and s. B.i.1(d) of the Code. The Parties submitted a Joint Submission on Penalty proposing a three-year suspension and a grade assignment of zero in Courses 1 and 3 and a grade assignment of 50% in Course 2. Regarding Course 2, the University noted that the phone had not actually been used and the Student had admitted misconduct at an early stage. The University submitted that in those circumstances, the grade of 50, rather than zero, was appropriate. With a passing grade in Course 2, the Student would have enough credits to graduate. The Panel stated that absent the Joint Submission, it would have considered a more serious penalty although it recognized the mitigating factors that the Student did not actually use the phone during the exam, had made an early admission of misconduct, cooperated with the University, and had no prior discipline history. Because the Student would be given a passing grade, the effect of the penalty would be to delay graduation only without the Student having to do further coursework and demonstrate that he had learned from the experience. However, the Panel noted that there was a high threshold for rejecting a Joint Submission and this was not such a case that met the threshold. The Panel accepted the Joint Submission and imposed a grade assignment of zero in Courses 1 and 3; a grade assignment of 50% in Course 2; a three-year suspension; a three-year notation on the Student’s transcript; and a report be issued to the Provost.