Case #775

DATE: December 1, 2014

PARTIES: University of Toronto v H.K.
Hearing Date(s): November 12, 2014
Panel Members:
Roslyn Tsao, Chair
Ernest Lam, Faculty Member
Simon Czajkowski, Student Member
Appearances:
Tina Lie, Assistant Discipline Counsel
Sonia Tors, DLS, for the Student
In Attendance:
The Student
Kristi Gourlay, Manager of Office of Academic
Integrity, Faculty of Arts and Science
Sinéad Cutt, Administrative Assistant, Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances
Trial Division – s. B.i.1(a) and s. B.i.3(b) of the Code – Agreed Statement of Facts – falsified documents and documents with falsified information – exam deferral sought – doctor’s medical certificate – personal statements – admission of guilt – Joint Submission on Penalty – mitigating circumstances – grade of zero in five courses; five-year suspension; notation on transcript until graduation; report to Provost for publication
The Student was charged with seven offences under s. B.i.1(a) and, in the alternative, one charge s. B.i.3(b) of the Code. The charges related to allegations that the student had falsified several documents in support of petitions for exam deferral and a request for academic accommodation. The hearing proceeded by way of an Agreed Statement of Facts (ASF) and the University withdrew the alternative charge.
The ASF stated that the Student submitted a petition containing a personal statement and two Student Medical Certificates which she had altered in order to defer writing exams in four courses. The petition was granted on the basis of the false information. Two years later the Student submitted a Verification of Student Illness or Injury certificate to excuse her absence from a mid-term test. She then submitted a second petition containing a personal statement that falsely stated when the Student had attended the clinic and Verification of Student Illness or Injury certificate with the date altered. The Student later met with the Dean’s Designate and admitted having committed the above offences.
The Student was 22 and lived with her mother following her parents’ separation five years earlier. Her mother moved back to South Korea and the Student funded her education through OSAP loans and bursaries. The Student had some health issues and was stressed at the time of the submission of the first petition. On both occasions she saw doctors but could not afford a note the first time and had altered the second note, though a doctor confirmed that she had seen her around that date. The Student expressed remorse and a desire to return to the University.
The Panel found the Student guilty of the first seven charges and the University withdrew the alternative charge.
The parties submitted an Agreed Statement of Facts on Penalty (ASFP) and a Joint Submission on Penalty (JSP) requesting a grade of zero in the five courses, a five-year suspension, a notation in the Student’s academic record until graduation, and that the matter be reported to the Provost for publication. The ASFP confirmed the Student had medical conditions, had sought and obtained permission to defer tests for medical reasons, and was sanctioned twice before for having a cell phone during an exam. The parties submitted similar cases with JSPs in support of the JSP, noting that a five-year suspension was in the range of sanctions and that the University was not considering the two prior incidents “offences.” The Panel was not bound by these cases but panels give high deference to JSPs, and noted a particular case in which the rejection of a JSP was overturned on appeal. However, even weighing the mitigating factors in this case, the Panel accepted the JSP and assigned a grade of zero in the five courses at issue, imposed a five-year suspension, ordered a notation on the Student’s transcript until graduation and ordered that the case be reported to the Provost for publication.