Case #815

DATE: January 19, 2016

PARTIES: University of Toronto v W.L.J.
Hearing Date(s): December 3, 2015
Panel Members:
Bernard Fishbein, Chair
Ann Tourangeau, Faculty Member
Raylesha Parker, Student Member
Appearances:
Robert A. Centa, Assistant Discipline Counsel
Lauren Pearce, Articling Student, Paliare Roland
Tyler Evans-Tokaryk, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, University of Toronto Mississauga
Brian Price, Instructor of the Course
In Attendance:
Christopher Lang, Director, Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances
Lucy Gaspini, Manager, Academic Affairs, University of Toronto Mississauga
Trial Division – s. B.i.1(d) and s. B.i.1(b) of the Code – plagiarism and unauthorized aid – Student’s Essay improved dramatically from his previously submitted essay and the high level of writing was inconsistent with his level of English – hearing not attended – reasonable notice of hearing provided pursuant to the Statutory Powers Procedure Act and the Code – finding on evidence – finding on guilt for the charge of plagiarism – other charges withdrawn – plagiarism unusual in the sense that there was no original text to compare with the Essay, but the Student had still represented someone else’s work as his own – prior academic offence of plagiarism and unauthorized aid – University submission on penalty accepted – grade assignment of zero in the Course; 3-year suspension; 4-year notation on the Student’s academic record and transcript; case reported to Provost for publication
Student charged under s. B.i.1(d) and 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 knowingly represented as his own an idea of another in an Essay, and that the Student knowingly obtained unauthorized assistance in connection with the Essay. The Student was not present at the hearing. The Panel noted that the Student had not participated in any stage of the disciplinary process. The Panel concluded that the efforts made to contact the Student by email and phone were reasonable as per the Statutory Powers Procedure Act and the Code. The Panel ordered that the hearing proceed in the Student’s absence.
Student was found guilty with respect to the plagiarism charge. The plagiarism in this case was unusual in the sense that there is usually an original text to compare with the submitted work, but that is not necessary to convict a student of plagiarism; what is necessary is that someone represent someone else’s work as their own. The Student had admitted to a prior academic offence of plagiarism and unauthorized aid. The Panel took into account evidence that the quality of the writing and analysis in the Essay submitted improved dramatically from the Student’s first essay in the Course. The Panel also took into account expert evidence that the difference in the two essays was too stark to possibly be the work of the same student, and that the level of writing was inconsistent with the Student’s level of spoken English as observed by the Course Instructor. The University withdrew the charge of unauthorized aid and the alternative charge of academic dishonesty not otherwise described. The Panel accepted the University’s submissions for sanction and imposed a grade assignment of zero in the Course; a 3-year suspension; a 4-year notation on the Student’s academic record and transcript; and that the case be reported to the Provost for publication.