Case #663

DATE: May 9, 2013
PARTIES: University of Toronto v. A.N.


Hearing Date(s): April 19, 2013

Panel Members:
Ms. Roslyn Tsao, Chair
Prof. Kathi Wilson, Faculty Member
Mr. Michael Dick, Student Member


Appearances:
Rob Centa, Assistant Discipline Counsel for the University
Effiette Sauer, Course Instructor
Diane Kruger, Forensic Document Examiner
Eleanor Irwin, Dean's Designate


In Attendance:
Natalie Ramtahal, Coordinator, Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances


Trial Division – s. B.i.1(c) of the Code – impersonation – Student had someone personate them for term test and final exam – Student did not attend hearing – individual writing exam wore a niqab and Student did not – finding of guilt – no mitigating factors – two instances of personation – poor academic record – serious and premeditated offence – preserving integrity of academic evaluation a paramount concern – grade assignment of zero in the course; recommendation that the Student be expelled; five-year suspension; report to Provost for publication


Student charged with two offences under s. B.i.1(c) and in the alternative, two offences under s. B.i.3(b) of the Code. The charges related to an allegation that the Student had someone personate them at both a mid-term test and final exam. The Student did not attend the hearing, but the Panel was satisfied notice requirements were met and therefore proceeded. The course instructor testified that she observed an individual wearing a niqab in the course on only two occasions: during the mid-term test and the final exam. The individual wearing a niqab handed in the final exam in half the allotted time. The course instructor took the exam and reviewed it, noting that it would receive a very good grade. This exam was handed in under the Student’s name. The Student nevertheless failed the course because the Student did not attend the final two compulsory lab sessions. The Student emailed the course instructor after final marks were released and requested a meeting with the course instructor. Having observed an individual wearing a niqab hand in the final exam under the Student’s name, the course instructor was expecting the Student to be wearing a niqab at the meeting. The Student was, however, dressed in “everyday clothes.” The course TAs and the lab coordinator informed the course instructor that they did not recall ever encountering a student wearing a niqab. The course instructor requested the Student’s in-class lab book, lab notes, quizzes and early assessment test, which had been signed by the Student. The course instructor formed the view that the handwriting between the work known to have been that of the Student and that which was submitted under the Student’s name by an individual wearing a niqab were different. At the Dean’s Meeting, the Student advised that the Student wore a hijab at home and had not had time to change clothes before the final exam. The Student indicated that government identification showing the Student wearing a hijab could be provided. The Student did not ever provide any such identification. A forensic document examiner produced a report and provided oral testimony to the effect that the person who wrote the mid-term test and the final exam was not the same person as the person who had written the work known to have been the Student’s. The Panel found the Student guilty. The Panel noted that there were two instances of personation, the Student had a poor academic record, and there was no evidence of any mitigating factors. The Panel also noted that the integrity of academic evaluation is a paramount concern and that the Student’s conduct was a serious and premeditated breach of this integrity. The Panel imposed a final grade of zero in the course, a recommendation that the Student be expelled from the University, a five-year suspension, and ordered that the case be reported to the Provost for publication.