Case #896

DATE: May 17, 2017
PARTIES: University of Toronto v. R.W. ("the Student")

Hearing Date(s): February 22, 2017

Panel Members:
Ms. Michelle S. Henry, Lawyer, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, Chair
Dr. Maria Rozakis-Adcock, Faculty Panel Member
Ms. Natasha Brien, Student Panel Member

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

In Attendance:
Professor Michael Georges, Dean's Designate (via Skype)
Ms. Lucy Gaspini, Manager, Academic Integrity & Affairs, Office of the Dean, University of Toronto, Mississauga
Mr. Ted Flett, Student at Law, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP
Ms. Tracey Gameiro, Associate Director, 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(d) of Code - plagiarism - unattributed quotations from internet sources in essay - University provided reasonable notice of hearing - proceeding in student's absence - finding of guilt - zero on course, three year suspension, four year notation, publication of decision with name of the Student withheld

The Student was charged with knowingly representing another's idea or work as their own under s. B.i.1(d) of the Code, and alternatively, academic dishonesty under s. B.i.3(b) of the Code. The Student submitted a final essay using unattributed verbatim and near-verbatim quotations from several internet sources.

The Student did not attend the hearing. The Tribunal found that the University had discharged its obligation to provide the Student reasonable notice of the hearing. Notice was sent to the student by courier to their home address and by e-mail to their e-mail address as recorded on ROSI, in accordance with the University's Policy on Official Correspondence. The Tribunal thus decided to proceed in the Student's absence.

The Tribunal found the student guilty of the plagiarism charges, and the University withdrew the academic dishonesty charge. In determining the penalty, the Tribunal noted that the Student had two prior admissions of guilt for academic offences in two other courses, and had been warned not to re-offend by letter just weeks before the present offence. This suggested that the Student had not learned from their mistakes. Lack of participation in the hearing demonstrated that the Student had not taken responsibility. The Tribunal considered the sentencing factors from the case of Mr C and the importance of consistent sentencing. The Tribunal found that a three-year suspension was consistent with past sentences for plagiarism where there was at least one prior offence. Accordingly, the Tribunal ordered that the Student receive a grade of zero the course, a three year suspension, and a four year notation, and that the decision be published with the name of the Student withheld.