Case #808

DATE: February 1, 2016

PARTIES: University of Toronto v L.M.
Hearing Date(s): October 13, 2015
Panel Members:
Sana Halwani, Chair
Markus Bussmann, Faculty Member
Jeffery Couse, Student Member
Appearances:
Rob Centa, Assistant Discipline Counsel
Lauren Pearce, Articling Student, Paliare Roland
Tegan O’Brien, Counsel for the Student, Downtown Legal Services
Rabiya Mansoor, Counsel for the Student, Downtown Legal Services
Donald Dewees, Dean’s Designate, Faculty of Arts and Science
Shelly Cornack, Registrar, University College
Linda Nauman, Associate Registrar, University College
Ms. L.M., the Student
In Attendance:
Christopher Lang, Director, Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances
Patrick McNeill, Observer, Secretary, College of Electors, Assistant Secretary of the Governing Council
Trial Division – s. B.i.1(a) of the Code – forged documents – Student falsified bank statements purporting to show payment to the University – finding on evidence – finding on guilt – prior academic offence of unauthorized aid – mitigating factors did not outweigh the Student’s deceitful actions – University submission on penalty accepted – 5-year suspension; recommendation of expulsion; case reported to Provost for publication
Student charged with two offences under s. B.i.1(a) and, in the alternative, an offence under s. B.i.3(b) of the Code. The charges related to allegations that the Student knowingly forged, altered or falsified two documents provided to the University in support of her Application requesting grant assistance. The Panel took into account evidence supporting the inference that the Student’s documents purporting to show payments made to the University and OSAP were forged or altered, including that the math on the Student’s bank account statements did not add up, the writing in some of the entries was askew, the receipts for a single transaction differed, and the bank did not have any records of the purported payments.
Student was found guilty with respect to two counts of knowingly forging, altering or falsifying a document or evidence required by the University. The University then withdrew the alternative charge of academic dishonesty not otherwise described. The Panel noted the Provost’s recommendation of expulsion in cases of fraud attempts by students absent exceptional circumstances. The Panel took into account a number of aggravating factors, including that the Student had previously been found guilty of two charges associated with the use of an unauthorized aid during an exam, that the nature of the current offence was very serious, and that the Student’s conduct prior to and throughout the proceeding was egregious and unremorseful. The Panel recognized a number of mitigating factors, including that the Student was experiencing significant financial hardship as an immigrant and single mother. However, the Panel emphasized that the mitigating factors did not outweigh the Student’s deceitful actions prior to and during the proceeding. The Panel also noted that simply appearing at a hearing is not a mitigating factor; had the Student chosen to cooperate with the University, those actions might have acted as mitigating factors. The Panel accept the University’s submissions on penalty and imposed a 5-year suspension; a recommendation that the Student be expelled; and that the case be reported to the Provost for publication.