Case #845

DATE: April 26, 2017
PARTIES: University of Toronto v. B.D. ("the Student")

Hearing Date(s): July 26, 2017

Panel Members:
Ms. Johanna Braden, Barrister and Solicitor, Chair
Professor Ernest Lam, Faculty Panel Member
Mr. Sean McGowan, Student Panel Member

Ms. Lily Harmer, Assistant Discipline Counsel, Paliare Roland, Barristers
Mr. Robert Sniderman, Student-at-law, Downtown Legal Services

In Attendance:
Ms. Lucy Gaspini, Manager, Academic Integrity and Affairs, Office of the Dean, U of T, Mississauga
Ms. Tracey Gameiro, Associate Director, Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances
Mr. Sean Lourim, Technology Assistant, Office of the Governing Council
Ms. Clara Ryu, Student-at-law, Downtown Legal Services (observer)

Not in Attendance:
The Student

Trial Division - ss. B.i.1(a) and B.i.1(d) of Code - forged or falsified test - plagiarism - student submitted an altered test for remarking - student copied unattributed text in paper - agreed statement of facts - finding of guilt - joint submission on penalty - zero on courses, three year suspension, four year notation, publication of the decision with the name of the Student withheld

The Student was charged with forgery and plagiarism under ss. B.i.1(a) and B.i.1(d) of the Code, and alternatively, academic dishonesty under s. B.i.3(b) of the Code. There was an agreed statement of facts that included guilty pleas to the forgery and plagiarism offences. In one course, the Student altered a test and submitted it for the marks to be recounted. In another course, the Student submitted a paper that included substantial unattributed verbatim copying.

The Tribunal found the student guilty of the forgery and plagiarism charges, and the University withdrew the academic dishonesty charges. The parties made a joint submission on penalty seeking a grade of zero in both courses, a three year suspension, a four year notation, and that the decision be reported to the Provost for publication with the name of the Student withheld. In determining whether this submission was appropriate, the Tribunal noted that by admitting guilt the Student took responsibility for their actions and demonstrated remorse. On the other hand, while the Student had written a seemingly heart-felt letter claiming to have learned a lesson after the first offence she went on to commit the second offence, raising a concern for a repeat offence. The offences showed elements of calculation and deliberation. A personal statement attesting to the Student's stress was not valuable because it too came between the commission of the two offences. Particularly troubling, the Student at one point attempted to drag her teaching assistant into covering up her offence. For these reasons the Tribunal found accepted the joint submission.