Case #673

DATE: March 7, 2013
PARTIES: University of Toronto v. Z.A.

Hearing Date(s): February 6, 2013

Panel Members:

John Keefe, Chair
Ann Tourangeau, Faculty Member
Afshin Ameri, Student Member

Robert Centa, Assistant Discipline Counsel for the University
Jeff Marshman, Student Representative, DLS

In Attendance:
The Student
Lucy Gaspini, manager, Academic Integrity & Affairs, UTM
Christopher Lang, Director, Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances

Trial Division – s. B.i.1(d) and s. B.i.1(f) the Code – plagiarism and concocted sources – submitted essay containing plagiarized passages and references to concocted sources – Agreed Statement of Facts – guilty plea accepted – Joint Submission on Penalty – two prior plagiarism offences – substantial mitigating factors – Student’s husband had left her the day before the assignment was due – Student was sole provider for young daughter – Student’s family had severed contact with Student – assignment worth only 7% of final grade – joint Submission on Penalty accepted – grade assignment of zero for the course; 31-month suspension; five-year notation on transcript or until graduation whichever is earlier; report to Provost for publication.

Student charged with one offence under s. B.i.1(d), one offence under s. B.i.1(f), and in the alternative, one offence under s. B.i.3(b) of the Code. The charges related to an allegation that the Student submitted an essay that included verbatim or nearly verbatim passages from a secondary source that were not properly cited. The Student pleaded guilty to the charge under s. B.i.1(d) and the matter proceeded on the basis of an Agreed Statement of Facts. The remaining charges were withdrawn. The Panel was provided with a Joint Submission on Penalty which set out the relevant factual circumstances. The Student had been found guilty of two prior plagiarism offences. On the second plagiarism offence, the Dean’s Designate had imposed a final grade of zero in the course, an eight-month suspension, and a one-year transcript notation. The Student was five-months pregnant at the time of this offence before the Tribunal. The Student’s husband informed her a day before the assignment was due that he was leaving her. The Student had been married to her husband for three years after an arranged marriage in Afghanistan. The Student’s husband suggested she procure an abortion as he would not help her with the child. The Student’s family told the Student that these problems were all of her own doing. The Student’s family had not approved of her choice to get pregnant prior to finishing school. The Student’s family offered no support when her husband left and thereafter severed all contact with the Student. At the time of the hearing, the Student remained for sole provider for her newborn daughter and stated her concerns about delaying the labour-market advantages a completed degree would provide for her. The Student had completed all of the courses necessary for her to graduate. The only impediment to her graduation was the outcome of the Tribunal hearing. The Panel noted the substantial personal mitigating factors and accepted the Joint Submission on Penalty. The Panel imposed a final grade of zero in the course, a 31-month sentence, a notation on the Student’s transcript lasting five years or until graduation, and that the case be reported to the Provost for publication in the University newspapers.