Case #838

DATE: April 26, 2016

PARTIES: University of Toronto v J.E.
Hearing Date(s): March 28, 2016
Panel Members:
John A. Keefe, Chair
Graeme Hirst, Faculty Member
Sean McGowan, Student Member
Tina Lie, Assistant Discipline Counsel
Mr. J.E., the Student
David Pond, Instructor of the Course
In Attendance:
Krista Osbourne, Administrative Assistant, Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances
Lucy Gaspini, Manager, Academic Integrity & Affairs, Office of the Dean, University of Toronto Mississauga
Trial Division – s. B.i.1(d) of the Code – plagiarism – Student submitted two essays with significant elements of plagiarism – guilty plea – finding on evidence – finding on guilt – aggravating factor of plagiarism allegations being known to the Student before the second Essay was submitted – two charges treated as a single offence with the penalties running concurrently – grade assignment of zero in the Course; 2-year and 5-month suspension; 4-year notation on the Student’s academic record and transcript; case reported to Provost for publication
Student charged with two offences under s. B.i.1(d) and, in the alternative, two offences under s. B.i.1(b) and two offences under s. B.i.3(b) of the Code. The charges related to allegations that the Student submitted two separate Essays with significant elements of plagiarism, portions of which were reproduced verbatim from internet sources, and which sometimes contained reference to the internet source without the proper quotations or footnoting. The Student pleaded guilty to both plagiarism charges. The University then withdrew the four alternative charges. The Panel took into account the fact that the Student attended the hearing, that he had no prior offences, and that though the plagiarism was extensive, there was some independent thought in the essays and some attempt to reference the sources of the information. The Panel noted that the main aggravating factor was that the second plagiarized Essay was submitted after the allegations of plagiarism concerning the first essay had already been raised, but not finally disposed of. In reviewing the cases submitted, the Panel noted that the range of penalties for a first offence of plagiarism was two to three years. The Panel contemplated whether the case was on the high or low end of the plagiarism spectrum, settling on a penalty in the mid-range of sanctions for a first-time offender on a charge of plagiarism. The Panel noted that the penalties were to run concurrently for both charges (i.e. the charges were treated as a single offence). The Panel imposed a grade assignment of zero in the Course; a 2-year and 5-month suspension; a 4-year notation on the Student’s academic record and transcript; and that the case be reported to the Provost for publication.