Case #691

DATE: September 26, 2013
PARTIES: University of Toronto v. S.E.

Hearing Date(s): August 7, 2013

Panel Members:

Andrew Pinto, Chair
Pascal Van Lieshout, Faculty Member
Maria Wei, Student Member

Robert Centa, Assistant Discipline Counsel for the University
Danielle Muise, Student Representative, DLS

In Attendance:
Wayne Dowler, Manager, Office of Academic Integrity
Natalie Ramtahal, Coordinator, Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances

Trial Division – s. B.i.1(d) and s. B.i.1(f) of the Code – plagiarism and concocted sources – submitted four assignments in two different courses containing wholesale plagiarism – Agreed Statement of Facts – guilty plea accepted for charges under s. B.i.1(d) – remaining charges withdrawn by University – Joint Submission on Penalty – second offence – Student admitted guilt early for three of four offences – Joint Submission on Penalty accepted -- grade assignment of zero in two courses; four-year suspension beginning on date of hearing; five-year notation; report to Provost for publication

Student charged with four offences under s. B.i.1(d), four offences under s. B.i.1(f) and in the alternative, four offences under s. B.i.3(b). The charges related to allegations that the Student had submitted a total of four written assignments in two different courses which contained verbatim or nearly verbatim passages from other sources without proper attribution and references to concocted sources. The Student pleaded guilty to the four offences under s. B.i.1(d) and the matter proceeded by way of an Agreed Statement of Facts. Three of the four assignments were nearly identical to text found in uncited sources, except for minor wording changes and two or three original paragraphs. The fourth assignment was identical to text found in a single uncited source, except for minor wording changes and a few original sentences. The Panel accepted the Student’s guilty plea and the University withdrew the remaining charges. The parties presented a Joint Submission on Penalty. This was the Student’s second plagiarism offence. The Student admitted guilt with regards to three of the four assignments at the Dean’s Meeting. The Student subsequently cooperated with the University and admitted guilt with regards to all four assignments by agreeing to the Agreed Statement of Facts and Joint Submission on Penalty. The Panel noted that the Student’s misconduct involved wholesale plagiarism and non-attribution of work. The Panel found it concerning that the Student did not admit guilt with regards to the fourth assignment and the Dean’s Meeting, but concluded that the penalty proposed in the joint submission was consistent with the serious nature of the Student’s misconduct and that there was no principled reason to reject it. The Panel imposed a final grade of zero in two courses, a four-year suspension beginning on the date of the hearing, a five-year notation on the Student’s transcript, and ordered that the case be reported to the Provost for publication.