Case #674

DATE: January 25, 2013
PARTIES: University of Toronto v. S.A.

Hearing Date(s): December 17, 2012

Panel Members:

Ms. Roslyn Tsao, Chair
Prof. Kathi Wilson, Faculty Member
Ms. Maria Wei, Student Member

Mr. Robert Centa, Assistant Discipline Counsel for the University

In Attendance:
Dr. Kristi Gourlay, Manager, Office of Academic Integrity
Ms. Betty-Ann Campbell, Law Clerk
Ms. Natalie Ramtahal, Coordinator, Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances

Trial Division – s. B.i.1(a) of the Code – forged documents – altered medical certificate –forged document submitted in support of petition for late withdrawal without academic penalty – Student did not attend hearing – notice provided in accord with Rule 3 of the Rules of Practice and Procedure – finding of guilt – first offence – expulsion not appropriate– Student acknowledged guilt in letter to Registrar – Student authorized University to speak with doctor – grade assignment of zero in two courses petitioned; five-year suspension; five-year notation on transcript; report to Provost for publication.

Student charged with three offences under s. B.i.1(a) and in the alternative three offences under s. B.i.3(b) of the Code. The charges related to an allegation that the Student submitted a petition for late withdrawal to the Committee on Standing that included forged documents. The Student obtained a ‘Student Medical Certificate’ from her doctor. The doctor confirmed that a Certificate was provided to the student and stamped with a true version of his clinic stamp. The doctor stated his original note had been changed, and almost the entire Certificate, except his name and date, seemed different from the note he wrote. After charges were laid, the Student provided a hand written letter to the Registrar of her college wherein she admitted to altering the Certificate. The Student indicated that she was remorseful and had been suffering from clinical depression and borderline anemia due to an abortion. The Student stated that medical records from her family doctor would be forthcoming to confirm. No letter from the Student’s family doctor, nor any further medical records were produced. The Student did not attend the hearing, but the Panel was satisfied notice requirements were met and therefore proceeded. The Panel drew an adverse inference from the Student’s failure to attend and deliver medical evidence promised in the Student’s letter to the Registrar. The Panel found the student guilty of one count of forgery under s. B.i.1(a) and two counts of academic dishonesty under s. B.i.3(b) of the Code. The Student had no prior record of academic dishonesty. The Panel imposed a final grade of zero in the two courses for which she sought late withdrawal, a five-year suspension, a five-year notation on the Student’s transcript, and that the case be reported to the Provost for publication in the University newspapers. The Panel determined that expulsion was not appropriate in the circumstances, as the Student authorized the University to make direct inquiries of her doctor, and had acknowledged some degree of guilt in the letter to her Registrar.