Case #741

DATE: March 20, 2014

PARTIES: University of Toronto v J.H.C.
Hearing Date: February 4, 2014
Panel Members:
William McDowell, Chair
Kathi Wilson, Faculty Member
Michael Dick, Student Member
Robert Centa, Assistant Discipline Counsel for the University
Camille Bégin, Professor of History
In Attendance:
Sinéad Cutt, Administrative Assistant, Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances
Wayne Dowler, Dean’s Designate, University of Toronto Scarborough
Not In Attendance:
The Student
Trial Division – s. B.i.1(d) of the Code – misrepresentation and plagiarism – Student does not appear at department meeting or Tribunal hearing – no evidence of insight or remorse – grade of zero in course; two year suspension; notation on transcript; report to Provost for publication
Student charged with an offence under s. B.i.1(d) and an offence under s. B.i.3(b) of the Code, in the alternative. The charges included the Student’s representation of another’s ideas as his own in an essay.
The Student did not appear at the specified time. The Panel recessed for 15 minutes after which it was satisfied it had the jurisdiction to proceed. The Panel found the Student had committed the first offence and the University withdrew the alternative charge.
Students in the course in question were required to write an essay using at least three secondary sources and turn in both a hard copy and one on, an online plagiarism screener. The Student’s essay was flagged as being 17% similar to an online article and having a 32% “global similarity index”. Further inquiry into the online article revealed that the Student had appropriated the article’s synopsis of other works as well.
The matter was not dealt with at the departmental level as the Student was invited to meet with the Dean or his designate but had not appeared.
The University submitted a penalty of a final grade of zero in the course, a suspension of two years, and a notation on the Student’s academic record until graduation. While satisfied this was a proper sanction the Panel considered if the Student should receive an increased penalty due to his failure to attend the meeting. The University posited that it is important for the Student to show insight and remorse and referred to the criteria set out in Mr. C (November 5, 1976). The decision set out six criteria to be taken into account when deciding an appropriate sanction. The Panel found no evidence in relation to mitigation, except that it was theStudent’s first offence. Additionally, in The University of Toronto and Ms. K (Case 428, June 2006) the Panel imposed a two year suspension where the Student refused to engage in the disciplinary process.
The Panel assigned a grade of zero in the course, imposed a suspension from the date of the order until February 4, 2016, ordered a notation on the Student’s transcript until the Student graduates, and ordered that the case be reported to the Provost for publication.