Case #724

DATE: October 10, 2013
PARTIES: University of Toronto v. Q.C.


Hearing Date(s): September 16 2013, October 4 2013

Panel Members:

Roslyn Tsao, Chair
Charmaine Williams, Faculty Member
Maria Wei, Student Member


Appearances:
Robert Centa, Assistant Discipline Counsel for the University

In Attendance:
The Student
Lucy Gaspini, Manager, Academic Integrity and Affairs (UTM)
Sinéad Cutt, Coordinator, Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances

Trial Division – s. B.i.1(d) and s. B.i.1(a) of the Code – plagiarism and unauthorized aids – use of Answer Key from previous year – use of another student’s work – uncited excerpts – Agreed Statement of Facts – guilty plea accepted for three of four charges – guilty plea for plagiarism of previous year’s Answer Key rejected – Joint Submission on Penalty – second offence – prior offence involved similar misconduct and was therefore a serious aggravating factor – Student pleaded guilty early and was cooperative – Joint Submission on Penalty accepted -- grade assignment of zero in two courses; suspension just under five-years; notation on transcript just under five-years; report to Provost for publication

Student charged with two offences under s. B.i.1(d), two offences under s. B.i.1(b), and in the alternative, two offences under s. B.i.3(b). The first set of charges related to allegations that the Student had obtained a copy of the Answer Key to a homework assignment, used the Key as an unauthorized aid, and included verbatim or nearly verbatim excerpts from the Key without reference or attribution to the course instructor. The second set of charges related to a different course and involved allegations that the Student obtained a copy of another student’s assignment, used this assignment as an unauthorized aid and included verbatim or nearly verbatim excerpts from the assignment without reference or attribution to the other student. The Student pleaded guilty and the matter proceeded by way of an Agreed Statement of Facts. The Panel accepted the Student’s guilty plea with regards to both offences under s. B.i.1(b). However, the Panel accepted the Student’s guilty plea with regards to only one of the two offences under s. B.i.1(d). The Panel accepted that use of the Answer Key from a previous year constituted use of an unauthorized aid but concluded that an additional offence of plagiarism was not supported by the facts. The University withdrew the two alternative charges. The parties presented a Joint Submission on Penalty. The Student had admitted guilt to the Dean’s Designate and cooperated with the University in entering her guilty plea. The Student had been sanctioned on a prior occasion for the use of unauthorized assistance relating to three homework assignments. The Panel noted that this prior offence was a very serious aggravating factor given that it involved similar misconduct. The Panel accepted the Joint Submission on Penalty and imposed a final grade of zero in two courses, a suspension for just under three years, a notation on the Student’s transcript for just under three years, and ordered that the case be reported to the Provost for publication.