Case #726

DATE: April 8, 2014 

PARTIES: University of Toronto v T.A.
Hearing Date(s): November 20, 2013
Panel Members:
Andrew Pinto, Chair 
Faye Mishna, Faculty Member 
Stoney Baker, Student Member 
Robert Centa, Assistant Discipline Counsel 
In Attendance: 
Wayne Dowler, Dean’s Designate, University of Toronto Scarborough
Sana Halwani, Tribunal Co-Chair, Observer
Sinéad Cutt, Administrative Assistant, Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances
Trial Division – s. B.i.3(a) of the Code – falsified documents and forged academic records – document purporting to be degree certificate –  documents sent to employer falsifying possession of degrees –  Student did not attend hearing – Student given reasonable notice of Hearing – agreed statement of facts – finding of guilt – high end of spectrum regarding seriousness of offence – five-year suspension; recommendation that the Student be expelled; permanent notation on transcript; report to Provost for publication
The Trial Division of the Tribunal was convened on November 20, 2013 to consider charges laid against the Student by a letter dated September 9, 2013 from the Vice-Provost, Faculty and Academic Life. The charges were revised on September 17, 2013. The Student and the University entered into an Agreed Statement of Facts (ASF). The Student did not attend the hearing but had received reasonable notice.
Student charged with three offences under s. B.i.3(a) of the Code. The charges related to allegations that the Student had forged and falsified several documents. These were a document purporting to be an Honours Bachelor’s degree certificate in Business Administration, a cover letter and resume in which the Student claimed to have earned the degree of Honours Bachelor of Business Administration, and a cover letter and resume in which the Student claimed to have earned the degree of Master of Business Administration. Discipline Counsel provided an overview of the ASF via which the Student entered a guilty plea. The Tribunal accepted the guilty plea and the Student stood convicted on the three charges.
The University submitted that the sanction here should include a recommendation of expulsion due to the severity of the misconduct. Discipline Counsel presented a Brief of Authorities suggesting that, where a transcript was forged, the resulting sanction resulted in a five year suspension, recommendation for expulsion or revocation of a degree. Discipline Counsel cited University of Toronto and Mr. C. (November 5, 1976/77-3) and suggested that forging a degree moves the case to the high end of the spectrum regarding seriousness of offence. While the Student admitted misconduct and agreed to the ASF, he did not attend the hearing or present any mitigating circumstances. Aggravating circumstances included the forgery of the certificate and the false representation that the Student had earned the two degrees. It was difficult to ascertain if the Student would be likely to reoffend. The Panel imposed a five-year suspension, recommended that the Student be expelled from the University, ordered a permanent notation on the Student’s transcript and ordered that the case be reported to the Provost for publication.