Case #833

DATE: April 27, 2016

PARTIES: University of Toronto v S.R.
Hearing Date(s): March 8, 2016
Panel Members:
Johanna Braden, Chair
Michael Evans, Faculty Member
Adam Wheeler, Student Member
Appearances:
Robert Centa, Assistant Discipline Counsel
Lauren Pearce, Student-at-Law, Paliare Roland Barristers
Laura Ferlito, Office of the Registrar, University of Toronto Mississauga
In Attendance:
Lucy Gaspini, Manager, Academic Integrity & Affairs, Office of the Dean, University of Toronto Mississauga
Tracey Gameiro, Office of Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances
Trial Division – s. B.i.3(a) of the Code – forged academic record – Student submitted falsified letter of enrolment to employer – hearing not attended – reasonable notice of hearing provided – finding on evidence – finding on guilt – not necessary to prove Student’s purpose in circulating forged record for finding of guilt – prior offence of academic dishonesty and lack of mitigating factors warranted a recommendation of expulsion – University submission on penalty accepted – 5-year suspension; recommendation of expulsion; case reported to Provost
Student charged under s. B.i.3(a) of the Code. The charge related to allegations that the Student knowingly forged, altered, or falsified a Letter purported to be from the Registrar’s Office in order to represent that she was enrolled as a full-time student and had completed three years of studies when in fact this was not the case, and that the Student circulated this falsified Letter to her employer. The Student was not present at the hearing. The Panel concluded that the efforts made to contact the Student by email and courier were reasonable pursuant to sections 6 and 7 of the Statutory Powers Procedure Act and the University Tribunal Rules of Practice and Procedure. The Panel ordered that the hearing proceed in the Student’s absence.
Student found guilty of the forged academic record charge. The Panel took into account evidence that clearly established that the Letter was false. The Panel noted that though the evidence about the purpose for which the Letter was forged and circulated was unclear and the Panel could therefore not conclude that the Letter was submitted in support of an employment application, the essential elements of the forged academic record were proven on a balance of probabilities. In determining the appropriate sanction, the Panel took into account as an aggravating factor that during the time period supposedly confirmed by the letter, the Student was not enrolled at the University and was in fact suspended because of admitted academic dishonesty charges. The Panel emphasized that this made the likelihood of repetition high. The Panel also noted that the falsification of the Letter was deliberate and careful, showing calculated dishonesty. Additionally, the Panel noted there was detriment to the University as the Student misrepresented her academic status to an outside party which undermines the public’s perception of the integrity of the University’s academic records. The Panel further noted that the need to deter others from committing similar offences was high because confirmation of enrolment letters are sent to third parties and are therefore hard for the University to police. The Panel concluded that a 5-year suspension would not be a sufficient sanction given the Student’s prior academic offence and lack of evidence of mitigating circumstances. The Panel imposed a 5-year suspension; a recommendation of expulsion, and that the case be reported to the Provost for publication.