Case #886

DATE: March 16, 2017
PARTIES: University of Toronto v. H.L. ("the Student")

Hearing Date(s): December 16, 2016

Panel Members:
Ms. Amanda Heale, Chair
Professor Pascal Riendeau, Faculty Panel Member
Ms. Grace Lee, Student Panel Member

Appearances:
Ms. Lily Harmer, Assistant Discipline Counsel, Paliare Roland Rosenberg Rothstein LLP

In Attendance:
Ms. Lucy Gaspini, Manager, Academic Integrity & Affairs, Office of the Dean, University of Toronto, Mississauga (via Skype)
Dr. Jaimal Thind, Assistant Professor, Mathematical & Computational Sciences, University of Toronto, Mississauga
Ms. Krista Osbourne, Administrative Clerk and Hearing Secretary, Office of Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances
Mr. Sean Lourim, Technology Assistant, Office of the Governing Council

Not in Attendance:

The Student


Trial Division - s. B.i.1(b) of Code - unauthorized aid - student had cell phone on person during exam - student not attending hearing - sentencing -suspension for academic misconduct running concurrently with academic suspension from insufficient grade point average - "typical penalty" stated on exam paper relevant to appropriate sentence - zero on course, two year suspension, three year notation, publication of the decision with the name of the Student withheld

The Student was charged with one offence of using or possessing an unauthorized aid under s. B.i.1(b) of the Code, and alternatively, academic dishonesty under s. B.i.3(b) of the Code. The charges related to a cell phone found ringing on the student's person during a final exam.

The Student did not attend the hearing. The University proved that service of notice was properly attempted. There was no evidence of the student actually using the phone. Yet the student was found guilty of possessing an unauthorized aid on the testimony of the professor who heard it ringing and found it during the exam. The student had been properly warned not to have a phone on their person.

Following the University's submission, the Tribunal imposed a mark of zero on the course, a two year suspension, a notation for one year longer than the suspension, and publication of the decision with the name of the Student withheld. The Tribunal rejected the University's request that the suspension not start until 2018, as the student was already suspended due to an insufficient grade point average. The University argued that a suspension for academic misconduct would have no deterrent effect for the period during which it overlapped with the academic suspension. The Tribunal found that this would be unduly harsh given that the exam paper stated that a "typical penalty" for an unauthorized aid was failing the course, that this was a first offence, and the lack of evidence that the Student used or intended to use the cell phone.