Case #944

DATE: March 5, 2018

PARTIES: University of Toronto v. A.A. (“the Student”)
Hearing Date(s): December 8, 2017
Panel Members:
Ms. Breese Davies, Barrister and Solicitor, Chair
Professor Louis Florence, Faculty Panel Member
Mr. Daniel Lazzam, Student Panel Member
Appearances:
Ms. Tina Lie, Assistant Discipline Counsel, Paliare Roland Rosenberg Rothstein LLP
The Student (via Skype)
In Attendance:
Ms. Tracey Gameiro, Associate Director, Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances
Professor Wanda Restivo, Dean's Designate, University of Toronto Scarborough
Mr. Sean Lourim, IT Support, Office of the Governing Council
Trial Division - s. B.i.1 (d) – plagiarism – ideas in an essay copied from online sources – agreed statement of facts – joint book of documents – joint submission on penalty – guilty plea – two prior offences – low end of reasonable penalty – Panel acknowledged that a joint submission should not be rejected unless its acceptance would bring the administration of justice into disrepute – final grade of zero in the course; suspension of 3 years and 4 months; notation on transcript for 5 years and 4 months or until graduation, whichever is earlier; and that the decision be reported to the Provost for publication with the Student's name withheld
The Student was charged with one charge plagiarism contrary to s. B.i.1(d) of the Code, or in the alternative, one charge of unauthorized assistance contrary to s. B.i.1(b) of the Code; or in the further alternative, one charge of academic misconduct not otherwise described contrary to s.B.i.3(b) of the Code. The charges related to an essay that the Student had submitted for course credit that contained passages that were verbatim or nearly verbatim to those contained in online sources. The matter proceeded by way of agreed statement of facts and a joint book of documents. The Student pled guilty to the first charge of plagiarism contrary to s. B.i.1(d) of the Code. Upon the Panel accepting the Student’s guilty plea to the first charge, the University withdrew the alternative charges.
The parties submitted a Joint Submission on Penalty (JSP) requesting: (a) final grade of zero in the course; (b) a suspension of three years and four months; (c) the sanction be recorded on academic record and transcript for five years and four months or until graduation, whichever is earlier; and (d) that the decision be reported to the Provost for publication with the Student's name withheld. In deciding whether to accept the JSP, the Panel was referred to cases where the student received a suspension in the range of three to five years and a notation was placed on the student's academic record for a lengthy period of time - ranging from four to seven years (The University of Toronto v. N.A. (Case No. 661, February 29, 2012), The University of Toronto v. S.P. (Case No. 654, August 9, 2012), The University of Toronto v. L.W (Case No. 625, February 13, 2013) and The University of Toronto v. A.S. (Case No. 835, October 12, 2016), The University of Toronto v. S.M. (Case No. 819, June 8, 2016), The University of Toronto v. O.E. (Case No. 923, August 30, 2017). The Panel found that these cases suggested that the JSP was on the low end, but not outside the range of what has been imposed in comparable cases. Together with the aggravating factors of the seriousness of the offence and the Student’s two prior plagiarism charges, as well as the mitigating factors of the Student’s participation in the discipline process, the Panel for the JSP to be reasonable and ordered: (a) final grade of zero in the course; (b) a suspension of three years and four months; (c) the sanction be recorded on the Student’s academic record for five years and four months or until the Student graduated, whichever is earlier; and (d) that the decision be reported to the Provost for publication with the Student's name withheld.