Case #805

DATE: August 10, 2015

PARTIES: University of Toronto v Y.C.
Hearing Date(s): June 22, 2015
Panel Members:
Sarah Kraicer, Chair
Bruno Magliocchetti, Faculty Member
Alberta Tam, Student Member
Appearances:
Lily Harmer, Assistant Discipline Counsel
Tegan O’Brien, Counsel for the Student, DLS
Nicole Wilkinson, Counsel for the Student, DLS
John Carter, Dean’s Designate, Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering
Manfreddi Maggiore, Instructor of the Course
Luca Scardovi, Instructor of the Course
In Attendance:
Mr. Y.C., the Student
Natalie Ramtahal, Coordinator, Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances
Johanna Braden, Observer
Trial Division – s. B.i.1(b) of the Code – unauthorized aid and academic dishonesty – Student had unauthorized exam aids on his desk during the final examination – Student signed an Acknowledgement of Possession of Unauthorized Exam Aid(s), but this was not admitted as evidence of guilt because the Student may not have understood what he was admitting to – finding on evidence – finding on guilt – prior academic offence – University submission on penalty accepted – grade assignment of zero in the Course; 2-year suspension; the earlier of either a 3-year notation on the Student’s academic record and transcript or a notation until his graduation from the University; case reported to Provost for publication
Student charged under s. B.i.1(b) and, in the alternative, s. B.i.3(b) of the Code. The charges related to allegations that the Student possessed three unauthorized aids in the final exam of the Course; namely, lecture notes, the prior year’s final exam, and solutions to a homework assignment. The Student signed an Acknowledgement of Possession of Unauthorized Exam Aid(s) form after the examination had concluded, but as it was plausible that the Student did not understand at the time of signing that he was admitting to having committed an academic offence, the Tribunal did not rely on this form as evidence of an admission of guilt by the Student. The Student pleaded not guilty at the hearing.
Student was found guilty with respect to s. B.i.1(b) of the Code. To support the inference that he knowingly possessed the unauthorized aids, the Panel took into account that the Student acknowledged that he knew the applicable rules for permissible aids, that he admitted to bringing the documents into the examination, and that he could not have mistaken the unauthorized documents for a permissible study aid. The Student’s explanation that illness and/or medication resulted in him not knowing that he possessed unauthorized aids on his desk was found to be implausible and not supported by any cogent evidence. An aggravating factor was the fact that this was the Student’s second academic offence. The Panel noted that receiving a strong warning that future misconduct would be subject to severe penalties did not deter the Student from committing a second offence, and that therefore there was an increased likelihood of repetition. The Panel recognized that the sanctions typically imposed in cases of unauthorized aids would have a severe impact on the Student’s ability to continue in his academic program, but it noted the seriousness of the offence and stated that reducing a penalty to cushion a student from a cumulative effect is not a principled reason for granting leniency. The Panel imposed a grade assignment of zero in the Course; a 2-year suspension; the earlier of either a 3-year notation on the Student’s academic record and transcript or a notation until his graduation from the University; and that the case be reported to the Provost for publication.