Case #789

DATE: October 9, 2015

PARTIES: University of Toronto v J.M.G.
Hearing Date(s): March 9, 2015 and August 11, 2015
Panel Members:
Lisa Brownstone, Chair
Chris Koenig-Woodyard, Faculty Member
Adam Wheeler, Student Member
Appearances:
Lily Harmer, Assistant Discipline Counsel
Tegan O’Brien, Counsel for the Student, Downtown Legal Services
Naomi Mares, Assistant Counsel for the Student, Downtown Legal Services
In Attendance:
Ms. J.M.G., the Student
Mr. G.V., the Student’s father
Lucy Gaspini, Manager, Academic Integrity and Affairs, University of Toronto Mississauga
Natalie Ramtahal, Coordinator, Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances
Sharice Annis, Observer, Downtown Legal Services
Christopher Lang, Director, Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances
Trial Division – s. B.i.1(d), s. B.i.1(a), and s. B.i.1(f) of the Code – plagiarism, forged documents, and concoction – hearing adjourned for Student to obtain legal advice – Agreed Statement of Facts – guilty plea – finding on Agreed Statement of Facts – finding on guilty plea – Joint Submission on Penalty – prior academic offence of plagiarism – aggravating factor of short timeframe between last academic offence and the current charges – Joint Submission on Penalty accepted – grade assignment of zero in both courses; 4-year suspension; the earlier of either a 5-year notation on the Student’s academic record and transcript, or a notation until her graduation; case reported to Provost for publication
Student charged under s. B.i.1(d) and, in the alternative, s. B.i.1(b) of the Code, and under s. B.i.1(a), s. B.i.1(f) and, in the alternative, s. B.i.3(b) of the Code. The charges related to allegations that the Student engaged in academic misconduct in two courses. The first set of charges was in relation to allegations that the Student knowingly represented the ideas of another as her own work in an assignment. The second set of charges was in relation to allegations that the Student knowingly falsified a document that formed the data for an assignment in a separate course. The Student was present at the hearing. At the first hearing, the Student indicated that she wished to provide further information to the Panel that was not present in the Agreed Statement of Facts. The Panel agreed to adjourn the matter so that the Student could seek representation or advice.
Student pleaded guilty with respect to the charge of plagiarism. The Panel accepted the Agreed Statement of Facts and found the Student guilty of the offence. The Student admitted to obtaining unauthorized assistance and committing plagiarism by submitting an assignment knowing it contained verbatim or nearly verbatim passages from an essay that was submitted by another student in the Course, and knowing that the assignment contained ideas or expressions of ideas which were not her own. The University then withdrew the alternative charge of unauthorized aid.
Student pleaded guilty with respect to the charges of forged documents and concoction. The Panel accepted the Agreed Statement of Facts and found the Student guilty of the offences. The Student admitted to forging the signature of her Teaching Assistant and to submitting a data sheet with fabricated data. The University then withdrew the alternative charge of academic dishonesty not otherwise described.
The Panel took into account as an aggravating factor that the Student had been charged with another plagiarism offence and warned of the serious consequences that would occur in the event of a repetition, especially given the very short timeframe between the offences. The Panel also took into account mitigating circumstances, including the Student’s recent immigration status and the pressures in her household. The Panel accepted the Joint Submission on Penalty, noting that it was within the appropriate range of sanction taking into account the previous plagiarism misconduct. The Panel imposed a grade assignment of zero in both courses; a 4-year suspension; the earlier of either a 5-year notation on the Student’s academic record and transcript, or a notation until her graduation; and that the case be reported to the Provost for publication.