Case #818

DATE: September 6, 2016

PARTIES: University of Toronto v M.N.
Hearing Date(s):
May 27, 2016
Panel Members:
William C. McDowell, Chair
M Evans, Faculty Member
Raylesha Parker, Student Member
Appearances:
Lily Harmer, Assistant Discipline Counsel
Rabiya Mansoor, Law Student for the Student
Kristi Gourlay, Manager Office of Academic Integrity
In Attendance:
Tracey Gameiro, Associate Director, Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances
M.N., the Student
Mother, Mother of Student
Trial Division – s. B.i.1(a) of the Code – forged documents and forged University Verification of Student Illness or Injury Forms – request for accommodation– Agreed Statement of Facts – guilty plea accepted for charges under s. B.i.1(a) –– Joint Submission on Penalty – Student cooperative and admitted guilt – extenuating circumstances –– Joint Submission on Penalty accepted – Panel should not depart from the JSP unless the proposed result amounts to an error in principle - grade of zero in courses; five-year suspension; six-year notation
Student charged with six offences under s. B.i.1(a) of the Code. The charges related to six forged documents in two separate medical Petitions for accommodation sent by the Student. The Student pleaded guilty to the charges under s. B.i.1(a) and the matter proceeded by way of an Agreed Statement of Facts (ASF). The Panel also received a Joint Submission on Penalty (JSF).
The ASF described the Student as seeking various academic accommodations in 2015. In support of this request the Student submitted a Medical Verification Form which she admitted to altering the dates of and a University Verification of Student Illness or Injury Form. As well, the Student submitted documents from turnitin.com which she had also altered.
In 2016 the Student submitted a falsified Verification of Student Illness or Injury Form to be granted academic accommodation in a course as well as a further Verification Form. The Student met with the Dean’s Designate and admitted that she had forged, altered and/or otherwise falsified documents submitted in support of her Petitions. She cooperated with the University investigation.
The parties presented a Joint Submission on Penalty (JSP) recommending a grade of zero in the courses; a five-year suspension; and a six-year notation on the Student’s academic record and transcript. The Panel noted the length of time of the Student’s dishonesty and that she had deceived three different instructors. The Panel also noted the presence of mitigating factors including the Students religious background, the difficult process of disclosure of her sexual orientation to her parents, personal challenges, and suicide attempt. The Panel accepted the JSP noting that given the exceptional circumstances submitted, the mitigating factors might have warranted a shorter suspension. However, it acknowledged that the Panel should not depart from the JSP unless the proposed result would amount to an error in principle, which was not the case in this circumstance.
The Panel imposed the penalty submitted in the JSP.