Case #842

DATE: April 21, 2016

PARTIES: University of Toronto v N.D.
Hearing Date(s): April 6, 2016
Panel Members:
Roslyn M. Tsao, Chair
Pascal Van Lieshout, Faculty Member
David Kleinman, Student Member
Appearances:
Lily Harmer, Assistant Discipline Counsel
Lucy Gaspini, Manager, Academic Integrity and Affairs, University of Toronto Mississauga
Bernice Iarocci, Instructor of the Course
In Attendance:
Krista Osbourne, Administrative Assistant, Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances
Trial Division – s. B.i.1(d) and s. B.i.1(b) of the Code – plagiarism and unauthorized aid – Student’s improvement on the Essay was so remarkable as to conclude that another person wrote the Essay – hearing not attended – reasonable notice of hearing provided as per the Rules of Practice and Procedure – finding on evidence – finding on guilt – aggravating factor of not participating in the discipline process at any stage – University’s submission on penalty not fully accepted – Panel noted that commencing the 2-year suspension consecutive to the Student’s unrelated academic suspension would be tantamount to an unwarranted expulsion, but noted that doing so in like cases would not be categorically inappropriate – grade assignment of zero in the Course; 2-year suspension, beginning after the completion of two years of the Student’s 3-year academic suspension; notation on the Student’s academic record and transcript from the date of the Order to a date which is two years after the date on which the Student re-enrols in the University following her suspension; case reported to Provost for publication
Student charged under s. B.i.1(d), 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 her own ideas the work of another in the Essay, and that she knowingly obtained unauthorized assistance in connection with the Essay. The Student was not present at the hearing. The Panel took into account evidence that the Student had logged into her ROSI account and therefore concluded that even though the Student was subject to an academic suspension by the time notice of the allegations were sent to her, she was aware of the allegations and reasonable notice of the hearing was provided pursuant to Paragraph 9(c) of the Rules of Practice and Procedure.
Student found guilty of plagiarism and unauthorized aid. The University then withdrew the alternative charge of academic dishonesty. The Panel took into account the level of change from the Student’s prior performance to the Essay, noting that it was not merely an improvement to the grammar and punctuation that could be observed; it was a wholesale development of advanced conceptual analysis and expression skills. The Panel concluded that the change was so remarkable as to find that it was more likely than not that another person, other than the Student, wrote the Essay. The Panel considered the Student’s choice to ignore communications from the Office of Academic Integrity and to not participate in the discipline process to be an aggravating factor. The Panel did not fully accept the University’s submission on penalty, noting that the practical effect of commencing a 2-year suspension consecutive to the Student’s unrelated 3-year academic suspension (for a total of 5 consecutive years) would be tantamount to expulsion. The Panel clarified that a consecutive suspension in other like situations may be appropriate; it is a matter of discretion for the Tribunal hearing the matter. The Panel imposed a grade assignment of zero in the Course; a 2-year suspension, beginning after the completion of two years of the Student’s three year academic suspension; a notation on the Student’s academic record and transcript from the date of the Order to a date which is two years after the date on which the Student re-enrols in the University following her suspension; and that the case be reported to the Provost for publication.