Case #746

DATE: January 14, 2015

PARTIES: University of Toronto v Y.W.
Hearing Date(s): December 12, 2014
Panel Members:
Bernard Fishbein, Chair
Michael Saini, Faculty Member
Susan Mazzatto, Student Member
Lily Harmer, Assistant Discipline Counsel
In Attendance:
Raymond Grinnell, Senior Lecturer
Nikki Alber, Graduate Student,
Wayne Dowler, Dean’s Designate, UTS
Natalie Ramtahal, Coordinator, Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances
Not in Attendance:
The Student
Trial Division – s. B.i.1(b) and s. B.i.3(d) of the Code – unauthorized aids on exam – illegal calculator – illegal notes – Student not present – affidavits served – grade of zero in course; suspension of two years; notation on transcript for three years; report to Provost for publication – lesser penalty for unwarranted calculator might have been imposed but for the notes attached
Student charged with an offence under s. B.i.1(b), and in the alternative, an offense under s. B.i.3(b) of the Code. The Student did not attend the hearing but the Panel was satisfied that the Student had reasonable notice of the hearing and had been served several affidavits in accordance with the Rules of Practice and Procedure of the University Tribunal. The Panel proceeded in accordance with the University Tribunal Rules of Practice and Procedure.
The charges related to possession of both a calculator with unauthorized functions, and notes during an exam. An invigilator testified that there was written and spoken instruction that certain calculators with special functions would not be permitted for use on the exam. She further checked every student’s calculator and found that the Student had an illegal calculator with notes and formulas attached to the back and case of the calculator. The Student denied that the notes were for the course, had the calculator confiscated, and was permitted to write the exam.
The instructor for the course testified that certain calculators were illegal as they defeated the purpose of the exam. He reviewed the confiscated calculator’s functions and demonstrated that it was one of the types that was banned form the exam. He also testified that the notes were blatantly for the course.
The University submitted that the Student had blatantly violated s. B.i.1(b) of the Code, knowingly using an illegal calculator and notes, and further had not participated in the proceedings. The University sought a penalty including a grade of zero in the course, a two year suspension from the date from the hearing, a notation on the Student’s transcript for three years from the date of the hearing, and that the case be reported for publication.
The Panel unanimously ruled that the Student had violated s. B.i.1(b) of the Code and the University withdrew the alternative charge. Although it was a first offense, the Panel found no mitigating circumstances and that a two year suspension was the ordinary sanction in similar circumstances.
The Panel imposed the sanctions sought by the University but noted that a lesser sanction may have been imposed as the exam rules did not call for confiscation of calculators, but only that they be turned off. However, because of the extensive notes on the calculator, the Panel agreed with the University’s proposed sanctions.