Case #702

DATE: April 15, 2013
PARTIES: University of Toronto v. S.P.

Hearing Date(s): March 20, 2013

Panel Members:
Ms. Sarah Kraicer, Chair
Prof. Ernest Lam, Faculty Member
Mr. Adam Found, Student Member

Mr. Robert Centa, Assistant Discipline Counsel for the University

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


Trial Division – s. B.i.1(a) of Code – forged documents – forged personal statements and medical certificates on five different occasions over three years – hearing not attended – Agreed Statement of Facts – guilty plea – finding of guilt – Joint Submission on Penalty – forgery of medical documentation was even more serious than other types of forgery – multiplicity of similar conduct suggested likelihood of repetition – Student fully cooperated and had no prior academic offences – proposed penalty was consistent with precedents – Panel accepted Joint Submission – absent Joint Submission, Panel would have considered extending the period of notation – grade assignment of zero for course; five-year suspension; seven-year notation on transcript or until graduation; report to Provost

Student charged under s. B.i.1(a) of the Code. The charges related to allegations that the Student forged personal statements and medical certificates to obtain academic accommodations on five different occasions over the course of three years. The Student admitted that she worked at a hospital and used her position to forge medical certificates. The Student consented to the hearing proceeding in her absence and did not attend the hearing. The Student pleaded guilty to the charges, and the Panel found the Student guilty under s. B.i.1(a) of the Code. The Parties submitted a Joint Submission on Penalty. On the issue of the nature of the offence, the Panel stated that the misconduct of forging medical documentation was even more serious than forging other types of documentation, as it implicated the integrity of third party health professionals and undermined the ability of the University to rely on the bona fides of certificates and documentation in a petition process that depended on self-reporting by students. Thus, it must be met with a very serious sanction to meet the goal of general deterrence. Regarding the likelihood of a repetition of the offence and the Student’s character, the Panel stated that the multiplicity of occasions of similar conduct over a stretched period of time suggests that there was likelihood that she will repeat the misconduct. However, she had no prior discipline history and fully cooperated with the University although the Panel had no information of any mitigating factors as the Student chose not to appear. The Panel further stated that the proposed penalty of a five-year suspension was consistent with precedents (P.P., Case 642 and Q.W., Case 633). Although the Panel recommended expulsion in KCY (Case 646), in that case, the Student did not fully cooperate with the University process and was found to have continued to attempt to mislead the Panel. The Panel concluded that the sanctions proposed were reasonable in the circumstances and accepted the Joint Submission. However, absent the Joint Submission, the Panel would have considered extending the period of notation to the entire period she would be enrolled at the University should she resume her studies. The Panel imposed a grade assignment of zero in each of the three courses; a five-year suspension; a seven-year notation or until graduation, whichever was to occur first; and a report be issued to the Provost.