DATE: May 30, 2017
PARTIES: University of Toronto v. A.K. (“the Student”)
Hearing Date(s): March 21, 2017
Mr. Michael Hines, Barrister and Solicitor, Chair
Dr. Joel Kirsh, Faculty Panel Member, Faculty of Medicine Ms. Yusra Qazi, Student Panel Member
Ms. Tina Lie, Assistant Discipline Counsel, Paliare Roland Barristers
Ms. Tina Saban, Law Student for the Student, Downtown Legal Services
Ms. Lucy Gaspini, Manager Academic Integrity, Office of the Dean, University of Toronto - Mississauga
Mr. Tracey Gameiro, Associate Director, Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances
Mr. Sean Lourim, IT Assistant, Office of the Governing Council
Trial Division - s. B.i.1(b) - unauthorized aids – incorporating portions of an earlier assignment into a later assignment – possession of a cellular telephone during an exam – prior offence – agreed statement of facts – joint book of documents – joint submission on penalty – guilty plea – notation longer than suspension – final grade of zero in the affected courses, suspension of three years, transcript notation for four years, and report to the provost.
The Panel accepted the Student’s guilty plea to two charges of academic dishonesty contrary to s. B.i.3(b) of the Code. The charges related to two separate incidents. First, the Student submitted an assignment that contained work from a previous assignment for which he had already received course credit. Second, the Student had a cell phone in his possession during a final exam. The matter proceeded by way of agreed statement of facts and a joint book of documents. Upon acceptance of the Student’s guilty plea by the Panel, the University withdrew the alternative charges that had been laid under s. B.i.1(e) and s. B.i.3(b) of the Code.
The parties submitted a Joint Submission on Penalty (JSP) proposing: (a) a final grade of zero in the affected courses; (b) suspension from the University for three years; (c) a notation of the sanction on the Student’s academic record and transcript for four years; and (d) that the matter be reported to the Provost for publication. The Panel accepted all of the JSP sanctions without difficulty, except for the four-year notation on the Student’s transcript. The Panel debated its sufficiency as compared to the imposition of a notation until graduation in light of the need to consider the likelihood of recurrence in determining the reasonableness of a sanction. The Student had already been disciplined for one instance of unauthorized assistance before the incidents giving rise to the charges, so the Panel’s concern was that when the notation came off the Student’s record he may re-engage in further academic misconduct. At the same time, if the Student chose not to return to the University after his suspension then a notation on his transcript would effectively become permanent – a sanction that is typically reserved for more egregious conduct than the charges in this case. Ultimately, this concern did not outweigh the institutional value in accepting JSPs. The Panel accepted the JSP, ordering a final grade of zero in the affected courses; suspension from the University for three years; a notation of the sanction on the Student’s academic record and transcript for four years; and that the matter be reported to the Provost for publication.