Case #727

DATE: October 14, 2014

PARTIES: University of Toronto v A.L.
Hearing Date(s): June 10, 2014 
Panel Members: 
William McDowelll, Chair 
Ernest Lam, Faculty Member 
David Kleinman, Student Member 
Tina Lie, Assistant Discipline Counsel 
Samuel Greene, Case Worker for the Student
In Attendance: 
The Student
Natalie Ramtahal, Coordinator, Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances
Lucy Gaspini, Mananger, Academic Integrity & Affairs, UTM
Trial Division – s. B.i.1(d) of the Code – plagiarism – Agreed Statement of Facts – prior offence – admission of guilt – Dean’s Designate meeting – extenuating circumstances – Joint Submission on Penalty – grade of zero in course; three-year suspension; notation on transcript until graduation; report to Provost for publication 
The Student admitted to two counts of having represented the ideas of another as her own in one course contrary to s. B.i.1(d) of the Code at a Tribunal hearing. The University withdrew alternate charges and the parties filed an Agreed Statement of Facts (ASF). The Student had a prior plagiarism offence for which she received a zero on the assignment and a warning that further offences would be referred to the Tribunal.
The ASF stated that the Student had missed four tutorials in the course. She explained her absence to the instructor that she had been involved in a car accident for which she provided documentation. The instructor allowed the Student to make up the assignments for the tutorials. The Student submitted the assignments and the Teaching Assistant determined that there were verbatim or nearly verbatim passages from sources that were uncited and no quotation marks were used.  The Student was also required to submit an “analysis assignment” for the course. To assist students a model assignment was distributed, though the instructor made it clear that the model was not a blueprint for the assignment. When the instructor received the Student’s assignment she determined that it contained passages either verbatim or nearly verbatim from the model. In a meeting with the Dean’s Designate the Student admitted to having committed two counts of plagiarism contrary to s. B.i.1(d) of the Code and signed an admission of guilt in respect of both counts.
Counsel for the Student referred to the principles of the Mr. C case on determining penalty with an emphasis on extenuating circumstances. While the Student did not address the Tribunal she wrote a letter stating her apology, acknowledgement of wrongdoing, and that she seeks to be the first member of her family to graduate university. She also included a letter from a lay supervisor at her parish vouching for her character and a note from the parish priest. The University submitted that the Student has a risk of repetition and referred to a similar case in which the student received a three-year suspension.
The Panel accepted a Joint Submission on Penalty from the parties and ordered a penalty of a grade of zero in the course, a suspension from the date of order until August 31, 2017, a notation be placed on her academic record until graduation, and that the case be reported to the Provost for publication.