Case #758

Case 758 - Sanction

DATE: June 22, 2015 and December 4, 2015
PARTIES: University of Toronto v Z.T.

Hearing Date(s): December 3, 2014; March 16, 2014; April 6, 2015; and November 6, 2015
Panel Members:
Paul Schabas, Chair
Markus Bussmann, Faculty Member
Sean McGowan, Student Member
Tina Lie, Assistant Discipline Counsel for the University
Patrick Hartford, Lawyer for the Student (Finding)
Samuel Greene, Counsel for the Student, DLS (Sanction)
Rubing Wang, Mandarin Interpreter
Kate Abulizi, Mandarin Interpreter
Kasha Visutskie, Academic Integrity Office, Faculty of Arts and Science
Kristy Gourlay, Manager, Office of Academic Integrity, Faculty of Arts and Science
Z.T., the Student
Nancy Prior, Academic Advisor, New College
Denise Gray, Associate Registrar, Innis College
Albert Tang, Intelligence Officer
In Attendance:
Natalie Ramtahal, Coordinator, Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances
Yumei Lui, Observer
Xu Dong Chang, Observer
Trial Division – s. B.i.1(c), s. B.i.3(b), s. B.i.3(a) of the Code – impersonation, academic dishonesty, and forged academic records – had another personate them at final exam - forged T-Card - finding of guilt – phrase “ought to have known” is established on an objective test – a plea of not guilty and contesting an offence not an aggravating factor, but is not an indication of remorse which can be a mitigating factor – sanction- grade of zero in the course; 5 year suspension; recommendation for expulsion; case reported to Provost for Publication
The Student was charged under s. B.i.1.(c), s. B.i.3.(a) and, in the alternative, s. B.i.3(b) of the Code. The charges related to allegations that the Student hired an individual to impersonate her and write a final exam using a forged and falsified T-Card to carry out the personation.
The Panel found the Student guilty of one count under s. B.i.1(c) and one count under s. B.i.3(a) of the Code. The University withdrew the alternative charge, s. B.i.3(b). The Student claimed that while she asked an individual to help her defer her exam, she did not know that individual would arrange to have someone attend and write her exam in her place. The Panel stated that knowledge does not have to be subjective, or actual knowledge, but is established on an objective test of whether the student know or ought to have known.
The sanction phase of the hearing occurred on a separate day.
In considering sanction, the Panel had regard to the factors set out in the Mr. C. case and noted the following: the anonymous email received by the University indicating that the Student would be hiring someone to write her exams, suggests planning and speaks to the deliberate and calculated dishonesty; the Student’s previous interactions with the University indicate the Student was well aware of how to seek assistance with academic problems; personation is a very serious offence, striking at the heart of academic integrity by threatening the evaluation process and fairness to other students; it is difficult to catch, and but for the anonymous email in this case, the Student’s actions might never have been exposed; there was no indication that the Student appreciated her wrongful conduct, and therefore no comfort that she would not reoffend; while prospects of rehabilitation should be considered, no evidence was put forth on which to conclude there was some prospect of rehabilitation, especially in light that the Student showed no remorse, no insight into her conduct, and no evidence that this was an isolated uncharacteristic act caused by extenuating or mitigating facts that might have explained or diminished culpability; cases involving impersonation, even for first time offenders, generally attract a recommendation of expulsion and is consistent with the Provost’s Guidance on Sanctions set out in the Code.
Counsel for the Student submitted that the failure to plead guilty should not be an aggravating factor. The Panel agreed but stated that a plea of not guilty and contesting an offence, however, is not an indication of remorse, which can be a mitigating factor.
The Panel imposed a grade of zero in the Course; a 5-year suspension; a recommendation that the Student be expelled; and that the case be reported to the Provost for publication.