Case #671

DATE: September 23, 2013
PARTIES: University of Toronto v. A.C.

Hearing Date(s): August 14, 2013

Panel Members:

Jeffery Leon, Chair
Markus Bussmann, Faculty Member
Susan Mazzatto, Student Member

Lily Harmer, Assistant Discipline Counsel for the University
Amber Neumann, Student Representative, DLS

In Attendance:
The Student
Kristi Gourlay, Manager, Office of Academic Integrity
Natalie Ramtahal, Coordinator, Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances

Trial Division – s. B.i.1(d) of the Code – plagiarism – submitted essay containing extensive paraphrasing without attribution – Agreed Statement of Facts – guilty plea accepted – Joint Submission on Penalty – fourth offence – two prior plagiarism offences – future prospect of resuming academic studies at University should be considered – Student acknowledged guilt – Joint Submission on Penalty accepted -- grade assignment of zero in one courses; four-year suspension; five year notation on transcript; report to Provost for publication

Student charged with one offence under s. B.i.1(d), and in the alternative, one offence under s. B.i.3(b). The charges related to an allegation that the Student submitted an essay containing extensive paraphrasing from at least three published articles without attribution. The Student pleaded guilty and the matter proceeded by way of an Agreed Statement of Facts. The Panel accepted the Student’s guilty plea and the University withdrew the alternative charge. The parties presented a Joint Submission on Penalty. The Student had been previously sanctioned for plagiarism on two prior occasions. The Student was sanctioned for the first prior offence at the Decanal level. At the Dean’s Meeting convened with regards to the second previous plagiarism offence, the Student submitted a forged medical note. The Student nevertheless received a very rare and lenient sanction at the Decanal level In light of the exceptional circumstances surrounding the commission of the offence, and the potential for a more severe sanction to result in the loss of the Student’s student housing. In the case of the current offence before the Tribunal, the Panel noted that the Student had acknowledged his guilt and the seriousness of his conduct. The Panel observed the need to achieve a proper balance between emphasizing honest and ethical behavior and the need, in appropriate circumstances, for a student to have some future prospect of resuming his academic studies at the University. The Panel concluded that the sanctions set out in the joint submission were lenient, but fell within the reasonable range of sanctions for the conduct in issue. The Panel accepted the Joint Submission on Penalty and imposed a final grade of zero in one course, a four-year suspension, a five-year notation on the Student’s transcript, and ordered that the case be reported to the Provost for publication.