Case #856

DATE: October 6, 2016
PARTIES: University of Toronto v. T.C. (“the Student”)

Hearing Date(s): July 6, 2016

Panel Members:
Mr. Paul Morrison, Chair
Professor Dionne Aleman, Faculty Panel Member
Ms. Sue Mazzatto, Student Panel Member

Appearances:
Ms. Lily Harmer, Assistant Discipline Counsel
Dr. Kristi Gourlay, Manager & Academic Integrity Officer, Faculty of Arts and Science
Ms. Brenda Thrush, Faculty Registrar, Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy

In Attendance:
Ms. Krista Osbourne, Administrative Assistant, Office of Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances

Trial Division – s. B.i.3(a) and s. B.i.3(b) of the Code – forged academic records – circulated forged academic records in application for employment – hearing not attended – reasonable notice of hearing - prior academic offences – falsifying pharmaceutical degree raises significant concerns with respect to the safety of the public - University obligation to uphold and maintain the integrity of its academic degrees and degree-granting process – recommendation that the Student be expelled; immediate suspension from the University for a period of up to five years pending expulsion; permanent notation on academic record.

The Student was charged with two offences under the Code. The charges related to alleged representations that were made by the Student in a cover letter and resume that were submitted to Safeway Food and Drug (“Safeway”) for employment as a Pharmacist (the "Application"). Though the Student had not completed any degree program at the University of Toronto, the Application falsely claimed that she had graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Science in Human Biology and Physical Anthropology from the University and was a candidate in the Doctor of Pharmacy program at the University.

The Student denied the allegations with respect to falsifying her academic record at the meeting with the Dean’s Designate. Upon further investigation after that meeting, the University found that the student had previously been under academic suspension for plagiarism and had also previously been suspended by the University for failure to maintain a 1.5GPA. Neither the Student nor counsel for the Student attended the hearing. The Panel was satisfied that appropriate efforts to effect service on the Student had been made and that the provisions of the Tribunal's Rules of Practice and Procedure had been satisfied.

The Panel concluded that the Student forged and falsified her academic record. Upon the entering of a finding of guilt with respect to s. B.i.3(a) of the Code, counsel for the University withdrew the charge in relation to s. B.i.3(b). The Panel considered the aggravating facts that the student had previously been suspended by the University for failure to maintain a 1.5 GPA and that that she had also previously admitted to plagiarism and had been warned, in writing, that a second offence would be dealt with more severely. The Panel found that the offense of falsification of one's academic record for advantage to the Student is a most serious offense and one that, absent sufficient mitigating circumstances, would call for a recommendation of expulsion. In this case, there were also significant concerns with respect to the safety of the public as a result of a falsified degree in pharmacy. The Panel held that the University has an obligation to uphold and maintain the integrity of its academic degrees and its Degree-granting process. The Panel accepted the University’s submission on penalty and imposed a penalty of immediate suspension from the University for a period of up to five years; recommended that the Student be expelled; and that a permanent notation be placed on the Student's academic record and transcript.