Case #892

DATE: February 15, 2017
PARTIES: University of Toronto v. L.Z. ("the Student")

Hearing Date(s): January 25, 2017

Panel Members:
Mr. Christopher Wirth, Barrister and Solicitor, Chair
Professor Pascal van Lieshout, University of Toronto, Department of Speech-Language
Pathology, Faculty Panel Member
Mr. Andrey Lapin, Student Panel Member

Appearances:
Ms. Tina Lie, Assistant Discipline Counsel for the University, Paliare Roland Rosenberg
Rothstein LLP

In Attendance:
Professor Eleanor Irwin, Dean's Designate, University of Toronto, Scarborough
Ms. Krista Osbourne, University of Toronto, Administrative Assistant, Office of Appeals,
Discipline and Faculty Grievances

Not in Attendance:
The Student

Trial Division - s. B.i.1(d) of Code - plagiarism - student submitted essay worth 25% with substantial unattributed copying - student did not attend hearing - finding of guilt - 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 plagiarism under s. B.i.1(d) of the Code, and in the alternative with academic dishonesty under s. B.i.3(b) of the Code. The Student submitted an essay in a course, worth 25% of the final grade, containing nearly verbatim passages from Wikipedia that were unattributed or misattributed. The Student had received specific instruction about plagiarism and proper citation in the course and submitted a signed statement with the essay to the effect that any secondary sources used had been properly cited.

The Student did not appear at the hearing. The University had affidavit evidence showing that the Student had been served the relevant notices. The Student was found guilty of plagiarism on the basis of an affidavit from the course instructor and a comparison of the essay and the relevant Wikipedia pages and the sources they cited. The University withdrew the other charge.

The University sought and obtained a mark of zero in the course, a two year suspension, a three year notation, and publication of the decision with the name of the Student withheld. The Tribunal found that this penalty was in accordance with other decisions of the Tribunal in similar circumstances, and was appropriate given the sentencing factors as outlined in the Tribunal’s leading case (Mr C) on sanctioning.