Case #661

DATE: February 29, 2012
PARTIES: University of Toronto v. N.A.

Hearing Date(s): January 18, 2012

Panel Members:
John Keefe, Chair
Prof. Markus Bussmann, Faculty Member
Dr. Gillian Reiss, Student Member

Ms. Lily Harmer, Assistant Discipline Counsel for the University

In Attendance:
Ms. Betty-Ann Campbell, Law Clerk, Paliare Roland Barristers
Dr. Eleanor Irwin, Dean's Designate
Ms. Natalie Ramtahal, Coordinator, Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances

Trial Division – s. B.i.1(d) of Code – plagiarism – significant portions of essay copied from internet sources – hearing not attended – reasonable notice of hearing provided – course professor's testimony and evidence consisting of the contents on the websites - finding of guilt – three similar prior plagiarism offences  – offence not less serious than prior offences as the Student attempted to conceal her plagiarism – Student appreciated seriousness of offence, had no remorse, did not cooperate with the university, attempted to evade service, and did not intend to pursue academic career – grade assignment of zero for course; five-year suspension; seven-year notation on transcript; report to Provost

Student charged under s. B.i.1(d), and alternatively, under s. B.i.3(b) of the Code. The charges related to allegations that the Student copied significant portions of her essay from various internet sources. The Student did not attend the hearing. The University made various attempts to contact the Student by calling and sending emails. The Student was also personally served with a notice of hearing at her residence. The Panel concluded that the Student was provided with reasonable notice. The Panel considered the course professor's testimony and evidence that allowed comparison of the Student's essay with the words found on the websites. The Panel concluded that portions of the Student's essay were lifted directly from the websites and found the Student guilty under s. B.i.1(d). The Student had committed three similar prior plagiarism offences. The Panel stated that the offence in question, although she did not lift the entire essay from the internet, is not less serious than the prior offences as the obvious changes in wording the Student made were evidence that she tried to conceal her plagiarism. The Panel found that the Student appreciated the seriousness of the offence as she had been disciplined on three different occasions. The Panel also found that the Student did not seem to have any remorse, did not cooperate with the University, attempted to evade service, and did not seem to intend to pursue her academic career. The Panel found the University's submission on penalty to be appropriate and reasonable in the circumstance. The Panel imposed a grade of zero in the course; a five-year suspension; a seven-year notation on the Student's academic record and transcript; and that a report be issued to the Provost.