Case #941

DATE: February 16, 2018

PARTIES: University of Toronto v. H.E. (“the Student”)
Hearing Date(s): November 22, 2017
Panel Members:
Ms. Michelle S. Henry, Lawyer, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, Chair
Professor Michael Saini, Faculty Panel Member
Mr. Andrey Lapin, Student Panel Member
Appearances:
Mr. Pouya Makki, Legal Case Worker for the Student, Downtown Legal Services
Ms. Tina Lie, Assistant Discipline Counsel, Paliare Roland Rosenberg Rothstein LLP
In Attendance:
The Student
Dr. Kristi Gourlay, Manager & Academic Integrity Officer, Faculty of Arts and Science
Mr. Benny Chan, Student at Law, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP
Mr. Christopher Lang, Director, Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances
Ms. Joan Griffin, Assistant Secretary, Office of the Governing Council (Observer)
Mr. Sean Lourim, Technology Assistant, Office of the Governing Council
Trial Division - s. B.i.1 (d) – plagiarism – s.B.i.3(b) – academic dishonesty not otherwise described – ideas in an assignment copied from another student – essay copied from online source – claims that an assignment had been submitted when it had not, in fact, been submitted – agreed statement of facts – joint book of documents – joint submission on penalty – guilty plea – undertaking – Panel accepted JSP – final grade of zero in the affected courses; four-year suspension; the sanction be recorded on academic record and transcript from the date of the order until December 31, 2023; and that the decision be reported to the Provost for publication with the Student's name withheld
The Student was charged with two charges of plagiarism contrary to s. B.i.1(d) of the Code, with alternative charges of unauthorized assistance contrary to s. B.i.1(b) of the Code; or in the further alternative, charges of academic misconduct not otherwise described contrary to s.B.i.3(b) of the Code. In addition, the Student was charged with one charge of academic conduct not otherwise described contrary to s.B.i.3(b) of the Code. The charges were made in connection to three separate incidents in three different courses. The first set of plagiarism charges related to an assignment that the Student had submitted for course credit that contained passages that were pulled verbatim from an assignment that had been submitted by another student in the class. The second set of plagiarism charges related to an essay that had been submitted for course credit that contained passages that were pulled verbatim from an essay that was found online. The third incident, which is connected to the charge of academic dishonesty not otherwise described, was based in the Student’s assertions to an instructor that he had submitted an assignment when he had not, in fact, done so. The matter proceeded by way of an agreed statement of facts and a joint book of documents. The Student pled guilty to the two charges of plagiarism contrary to s. B.i.1(d) of the Code and the charge of academic dishonesty not otherwise described contrary to s.B.i.3(b) of the Code. Upon the Panel accepting the Student’s guilty plea to these charges, the University withdrew the alternative charges.
The parties submitted a Joint Submission on Penalty (JSP) requesting: (a) final grade of zero in the affected courses; (b) a four-year suspension; (c) the sanction be recorded on academic record and transcript from the date of its decision until December 31, 2023; and (d) that the decision be reported to the Provost for publication with the Student's name withheld. The JSP was accompanied by an undertaking that the Student complete at least six writing workshops offered by the University within the first two terms in which he is next registered for a course at the University. In deciding whether to accept the JSP, the Panel was referred to the narrow circumstances that would allow for them to depart from a JSP (University of Toronto v. S.F. [DAB Case No. 690; October 20, 2014]) as well as the factors that are to be considered in determining the appropriateness of a penalty contained in the Mr. C. case [Case No. 1976/77-3; Nov. 5, 1976]. The Panel found that the offences were deliberate and serious. Though the Student did not entirely take responsibility for the first and third offences and his explanation concerning the commission of the second offence was not entirely credible, the Student ultimately admitted to guilt at the hearing and cooperated with the University throughout the discipline process – which showed that he took responsibility for his actions. The Panel accepted the parties’ JSP and ordered:(a) final grade of zero in the affected courses; (b) a four-year suspension; (c) the sanction be recorded on academic record and transcript from the date of the order until December 31, 2023; and (d) that the decision be reported to the Provost for publication with the Student's name withheld.