Case #711

DATE: May 11, 2015

PARTIES: University of Toronto v S.G.
Hearing Date(s): November 28, 2014
Panel Members:
Sana Halwani, Chair
Ato Quayson, Faculty Member
Adam Wheeler, Student Member
Lily Harmer, Assistant Discipline Counsel for the University
Leslie Salituro, Student Services Assistant, School of Graduate Studies
Alan Saks, Professor, Department of Management, UTS
Erin McMahon, Governance and Policy Officer, School of Graduate Studies
Luc de Nil, Dean’s Designate, School of Graduate Studies
In Attendance:
Sinead Cutt, Administrative Assistant, Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances
Not In Attendance:
The Student
Trial Division – s. B.i.1(a), s. B.i.1(d), s. B.i.3(b) of the Code – falsified documents – plagiarism - document purporting to be official University letter – document sent to employer falsifying possession of degree – plagiarized dissertation –Student did not attend hearing – Student given reasonable notice of Hearing – finding of guilt – “shocking” offence – five-year suspension; recommendation that the Student be expelled; report to Provost for publication
The Student was charged with two offences under s. B.i.1(a), one offence under s. B.i.1(d), and in the alternative, two offences under s. B.i.3(b) of the Code. The charges related to allegations that the student had forged and falsified a letter purportedly from the University of Toronto School of Graduate Studies and also a dissertation. The Student did not attend the hearing but the Panel was satisfied that the Student had reasonable notice of the hearing as he had been in contact with the University before his responses ceased. The Panel proceeded in accordance with the University Tribunal Rules of Practice and Procedure.
The Student joined an American University (Ferris State) as an associate professor on the condition that he complete his doctoral degree at the University of Toronto. The Student provided a letter to Ferris State, purportedly from the University which stated that the Student had completed his degree, save for some minor changes to his thesis.
Despite deadline extensions on the dissertation and assurances from the Student that he would meet those deadlines, the Student never submitted a final draft of his thesis. The Student’s failure to complete his degree in one year violated a condition in his reinstatement to the University and made him ineligible to complete his degree. The supervisor was made aware of the letter sent to Ferris State and advised Ferris State that the University had not written the letter. The Student resigned from Ferris State.
The supervisor also provided the Panel with evidence of plagiarism in the Student’s dissertation. Approximately 75% of the material was taken verbatim or almost verbatim from uncited sources.
The Panel found the Student guilty of one count under s. B.i.1(a), one count under s. B.i.1(d), and one count under s. B.i.3(b) of the Code. The University sought an immediate five-year suspension and a recommendation of expulsion due to the shocking nature of the offence. The University focused on the Student’s lack of participation in the process, ineligibility to complete his degree, deliberate deception and irreparable harm to the relationship with the University.
The Panel accepted the submission and imposed a penalty of a suspension of up to five years from the date of the order or until expulsion, whichever is earlier, recommended that the Student be expelled, and ordered that the case be reported to the Provost for publication.