Case #894

DATE: May 31, 2017
PARTIES: University of Toronto v. J.W. (“the Student”)

Hearing Date(s): April 3, 2017

Panel Members:
Ms. Johanna Braden, Barrister and Solicitor, Chair
Professor Louis Florence, Faculty Panel Member
Ms. Alexis Giannelia, Student Panel Member

Appearances:
Ms. Lily Harmer, Assistant Discipline Counsel, Paliare Roland, Barristers
Mr. Nathan Korneberg, Paralegal, Juslaw Legal Services

In Attendance:
Ms. Lucy Gaspini, Academic lntegrity & Affairs, Office of the Dean, University of Toronto
Mississauga
Ms. Krista Osbourne, Administrative Clerk & Hearing Secretary, Office of the Appeals,
Discipline, Faculty Grievances
Mr. Sean Lourim, Technology Assistant, Office of the Governing Council

Not in Attendance:
The Student

Trial Division – s. B.i.1(a) of the Code – forging or falsifying information in a petition for accommodation – purchase of forged medical certificates from third party – Student not present – Agreed Statement of Facts – Joint Submission on Penalty – prior offence – sanction – a final grade of zero in the two affected courses, a suspension from the University for three years and eight months, an order on the Student’s record and transcript for five years, and a report to the Provost for publication

Student was charged with five charges of forging or falsifying information contained on a University Verification of Student lllness or lnjury Form, a Medical Absence Report, and in her petitions for academic accommodation contrary to s. B.i.1(a) of the Code, or in the alternative, two charges of academic dishonesty under s. B.i.3(b) of the Code. The Student did not attend the hearing, but had a representative attend. In an Agreed Statement of Facts, the Student admitted to committing the five charges that related to forging and falsifying information in her applications for academic accommodation. Based on these admissions, the Panel found the Student guilty of five counts of forging or falsifying information contrary to s. B.i.1(a) of the Code. The University withdrew the alternative charges of academic dishonesty.

The charges related information contained in, and documents submitted in support of, the Student’s petitions to have two of her final exams deferred. In each separate petition for accommodation, the Student purported to had visited a clinic and received advice from “Dr. John Winston” who had signed her Verification of Student Illness or Injury Forms and Medical Absence Reports submitted in support of her petitions. A later investigation turned up that Dr. Winston did not exist. In the Dean’s Designate meeting, the Student admitted to purchasing the documentation that supported her petition from a third party.

The parties submitted a Joint Submission on Penalty (JSP) of a final grade of zero in the two affected courses, a suspension from the University for three years and eight months, an order on the Student’s record and transcript for five years, and a report to the Provost for publication. The Student had been sanctioned for one prior academic offence. In deciding whether to accept the JSP, the Panel applied the factors set out in University of Toronto and Mr. C (Case No. 1976177-3, November 5, 1976) and reviewed other cases that involved similar circumstances. The Panel found in cases involving forgery or falsifying documents, students consistently received a final grade of zero for the affected course or courses and sanctions ranging from suspensions for as low as two years (for a first offence involving one forged medical certificate) and as high as five years. On the more stringent end, some cases involving egregious, sustained dishonesty warranted a recommendation of expulsion. The Panel found that the JSP was fair and within that range, ordering a final grade of zero in the two affected courses, a suspension from the University for three years and eight months, an order on the Student’s record and transcript for five years, and a report to the Provost for publication.