DATE: September 11, 2016
PARTIES: University of Toronto v S.F.
August 3, 2016
Sana Halwani, Chair
Dionne Aleman, Faculty Member
Yusra Qazi, Student Member
Rob Centa, Assistant Discipline Counsel
Emily Holme, Articling Student
Julia Wilkes, Counsel for the Student
S.F., the Student
Kristi Gourlay, Manager, Office of Academic Integrity
Krista Osbourne, Administrative Assistant, Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances
Maya Bielinski, Articling Student
Michelle Henry, Observer
S, K., Spouse of Student
Victor O’Brien, Observer
Trial Division – s. B.i.1(a) and s. B.i.3(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 – first offence – Student admitted guilt and cooperated throughout –– Joint Submission on Penalty accepted – grade of zero in courses; four-year suspension; five-year notation; report to Provost for publication
Student charged with nine offences under s. B.i.1(a), and in the alternative, an offence under s. B.i.3(b). The charges related to nine forged documents in three separate Petitions for accommodation sent by the Student, each of which allegedly contained forgedor falsified information. 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 University advised the Panel that if the Student’s plea was accepted it would withdraw the charge under s. B.i.3(b). The Panel also received a Joint Book of Documents (JBD) referred to in the ASF.
The ASF referred to three Petitions seeking academic accommodation, one in 2013, one in 2014, and one in 2015. The 2013 Petition was submitted to the Committee on Standing of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (Committee) seeking deferral of three exams and two extensions on essays. In support of these requests the Student submitted a Personal Statement and two University Verification of Student Illness or Injury Forms. The Committee granted the Petition. The 2014 Petition was submitted to the Committee seeking deferral of one of the exams deferred in 2013. In support of these requests the Student submitted a Personal Statement, a purported Receipt of Services from a medical group, and a University Verification of Student Illness or Injury Form. The Committee granted the Petition. In 2015 the Student missed classes and a tutorial quiz. She sought accommodation by submitting documents to the Human Biology Department (Department), including two University Verification of Student Illness or Injury Forms. The Department challenged the authenticity of the forms and the Student submitted a purported Receipt of Services from a medical group. 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.
The ASF stated that the Student admitted to submitting Personal Statement with information the Student knew to be false, forged or altered University Verification of Student Illness or Injury Form, and forged or altered Receipts of Services. The Student also admitted to knowingly submitting the documents to obtain academic advantage.
Based on the ASF and JBD the Panel accepted the guilty plea and made no finding as to the one charge under s. B.i.3(a). The parties presented a Joint Submission on Penalty recommending a grade of zero in the courses; a four-year suspension; and a five-year notation on the Student’s academic record and transcript. The University noted that there was a high threshold for rejecting a Joint Submission and this was not such a case that met the threshold. The Panel reviewed the Mr. C factors noting that the offence called the Student’s character into question, the offences were serious and raised significant concerns. The Panel also noted the presence of mitigating factors including the Student’s cooperation, full admission, medical and personal challenges, and status as a first time offender. The University agreed with the Student that its relationship with the Student could be rehabilitated. The JSP submitted that the mitigating factors warranted a four-year suspension instead of five.
The Panel found the Student guilty of nine counts of forgery or falsifying documents contrary to s. B.i.1(a) of the Code and imposed penalty of a grade of zero in the courses, a four-year suspension; a five-year notation on her transcript; and a report be issued to the Provost.