DATE: October 5, 2017
PARTIES: University of Toronto v. C.M.J. (“the Student”)
Hearing Date(s): May 24 and July 10, 2017
Ms. Sara Zborovski, Barrister and Solicitor, Chair
Dr. Chris Koenig-Woodyard, Faculty Panel Member
Ms. Ashley Barnes, Student Panel Member
Ms. Tina Lie, Assistant Discipline Counsel, Paliare Roland, Barristers
Professor Eleanor Irwin, Dean’s Designate, University of Toronto Scarborough
Mr. Terry Johnston, Associate Director, Office of Convocation (July 10, 2017)
Mr. Christopher Lang, Director, Office of the Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances
Mr. Sean Lourim, Technology Assistant, Office of the Governing Council
Ms. Larissa Leong, Articling Student, Norton Rose Fulbright (May 24, 2017)
Not in Attendance:
Trial Division - s. B.i.3(a) – forged or falsifying documents – falsified degree used in a job application – hearing not attended – reasonable notice provided – recommendation of expulsion, five-year suspension pending expulsion, permanent notation on transcript, report to the provost with the Student’s name withheld.
The Student was charged with falsifying or forging an academic record contrary to s. B.i.3(a) of the Code. The charge related to a degree that the Student provided to a prospective employer, who had asked the University to verify it. The Student had not graduated from the University, the degree was a forgery.
At the time of the first hearing date, the Panel heard evidence how over the course of nine months, the University had unsuccessfully attempted to serve the Student with the charges and the notice of hearing by email, courier, and by phone numbers that were associated with the Student on ROSI. The Panel adjourned the hearing to give the Student time to respond to the most recent attempts at service. When the hearing resumed six weeks later, the Student had not responded to any of the University’s attempts to contact him. The Panel referred to Rule 9 of the University of Toronto Rules of Practice and Procedure in finding that the University had provided the Student with notice by sending a copy of the document by courier to the student’s mailing address in ROSI and by emailing a copy of the document to the student’s email address in ROSI. Together with the University’s Policy on Official Correspondence with Students, which places the responsibility on the Student for maintaining a current and valid postal and email addresses in ROSI, the Panel concluded that the University’s attempts to notify the Student of the charges and the hearing amounted to reasonable notice. The hearing proceeded without the Student.
The Panel found the Student guilty of forging an academic record contrary to s. B.i.3(a) of the Code. The Panel referred to other cases that held that the forgery of an academic record is an offence of the utmost seriousness because such falsification both undermines the credibility of the University and of other students who have legitimately earned their degrees. Additional considerations of the Panel included that the Student’s conduct was premeditated and egregious, and that the Student did not respond to any of the University’s attempts to contact him. The Panel ordered: (a) a recommendation to the President of the University that the Student be expelled; (b) a suspension of a period of up to five years effective immediately pending expulsion; (c) a permanent notation on the Student’s transcript; and (d) that the matter be reported to the Provost for publication.