Case #761

DATE: April 16, 2014

PARTIES: University of Toronto v D.Z.
Hearing Date(s): January 29, 2014
Panel Members:
Dena Varah, Chair
Ernest Lam, Faculty Member
Blake Chapman, Student Member
Robert Centa, Assistant Discipline Counsel
In Attendance:
Kristi Gourlay, Office of Academic Integrity, Faculty of Arts and Science
Christopher Lang, Director, Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances
Trial Division – s. B.i.3(a), s. B.i.3(a) and s. B.i.3(b) of the Code – falsified academic records – document purporting to be undergraduate transcript–application for credit transfer – witness affidavit –Student did not attend hearing – Student given reasonable notice of Hearing – finding of guilt – five-year suspension; recommendation that the Student be expelled; report to Provost for publication
The Trial Division of the Tribunal was convened on January 29, 2014 to consider charges laid against the Student. The Student did not respond to the University who produced an affidavit confirming the Student received adequate notice. The Panel waited fifteen minutes before proceeding in the Student’s absence.
Student charged with three offences under s. B.i.1(a), one under s. B.i.3(a) and, in the alternative, a charge under s. B.i.3(b) of the Code. The charges related to allegations that the student had forged and falsified several documents including documents purporting to be an Undergraduate Academic Record, a translation of that Record and required supporting documentation required by the University in an application for transfer credits. The University advised that if the Student was found guilty on any of the other charges the University would withdraw the alternative charge.
The University filed the affidavit of the Witness who was unable to attend the hearing. The Panel was satisfied with its admissibility. The Witness is the Assistant Faculty Registrar in the Transfer Credits Office at the Faculty of Arts and Science who received a transfer credit request from the Student for eight courses. The Student submitted a copy of his transcript, a course outline and a notary public certificate confirming the originality of the transcript. The Witness, bothered by inconsistent dates on the transcript, contacted the Student’s undergraduate school. The undergraduate school advised that the Student’s documents were fake. The Witness met with the Student who admitted he had not attended that school. Since then the University has been unable to contact the Student.
The Panel was satisfied the facts supported a conviction on all charges and the alternative charge was withdrawn. The first charge under s. B.i.1(a) was altered to remove dates the Panel felt were unclear regarding what the Student had represented.
The University submitted that the sanction here should include an immediate five year suspension, a recommendation of expulsion, and that case be reported to the Provost for publication. Discipline Counsel cited University of Toronto and Mr. C. (November 5, 1976/77-3) outlining the factors the Panel should consider when determining a penalty. As the Student had not participated in the process there was no evidence on character or extenuating circumstances, though as the Student is no longer registered at the University the offence is unlikely to be repeated. Discipline Counsel submitted that the remaining factors (seriousness of offence, deterrent, and detriment to the University) and sixteen similar precedents called for expulsion. Discipline Counsel was not aware of a similar case where the Student did not participate and received a penalty less than expulsion.
The University considered two similar cases in which the students were involved and expressed remorse but the Panel recommended expulsion. The Panel noted the unfairness to the Student’s peers, the gravity of the offence and the need for general deterrence.
The Panel imposed a five-year immediate suspension, recommended that the Student be expelled from the University, and ordered that the case be reported to the Provost for publication.