Case #951

DATE: May 8, 2018

PARTIES: University of Toronto v. J.L. (“the Student”)
Hearing Date(s): March 9, 2018
Panel Members:
Ms. Sara Zborovski, Barrister and Solicitor, Chair
Professor Graeme Hirst, Faculty Panel Member
Mr. Daniel Lazzam, Student Panel Member
Appearances:
Ms. Tina Lie, Assistant Discipline Counsel, Paliare Roland, Barristers
Ms. Sana Kawar, Manager, University of Toronto Transcript Centre
In Attendance:
Ms. Krista Osbourne, Administrative Clerk & Hearing Secretary, Office of Appeals,
Discipline and Faculty Grievances (“ADFG”)
Mr. Sean Lourim, Technology Assistant, Office of the Governing Council
Ms. Christina Di Matteo, Academic Integrity Officer, Office of Student Academic Integrity,
Faculty of Arts & Science (“OSAI”)
Ms. Laurie O’Handley, Front-line Administrator, OSAI
Not in Attendance:
The Student
Trial Division - s. B.i.3(a) – forged or falsifying documents – falsified transcript and accompanying letter in an application for admission to another University – 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 two charges of falsifying or forging an academic record contrary to s. B.i.3(a) of the Code, or in the alternative, two charges of academic dishonesty not otherwise described contrary to s.B.i.3(b) of the Code. The charges related to a letter and a forged transcript that the Student submitted to the Australian National University (ANU) in an application for admission.
The Student did not attend the hearing. The Panel found that the Student had been provided with reasonable notice of the hearing on the basis of evidence that the University had sent the Student a number of emails and made phone calls, one of which the Student responded to indicating her availability for the hearing. The Panel found that the University was entitled to rely on its policy in communicating with Students, and that the University’s attempts to contact the Student by email and telephone were sufficient given that the Student had not provided a home address in ROSI.
The Panel heard evidence from the manager of the University’s transcripts centre, who testified that she had been asked to verify a transcript and accompanying letter that had been submitted in an application for a postgraduate program at ANU. She testified that the letter and the transcript were forgeries. Based on this evidence, the Panel found the Student to be guilty of both counts of forging an academic record contrary to s.B.i.3(a) of the Code.
The University requested the penalty that: (1) the Panel recommend that the Student be expelled; (2) a suspension of up to five years pending the decision on expulsion; (3) that a notation be placed on the Student’s transcript; and (4) the decision be published with the Student’s name withheld. In determining the appropriateness of the proposed penalty, the Panel was referred to a number of cases that set out that the forgery or falsification of an academic record, including a transcript, is a very serious offence because it undermines the credibility of the University and students who have legitimately earned their grades and degrees. The Panel ordered: (1) that the Student be expelled; (2) a suspension of up to five years pending the decision on expulsion; (3) a notation be placed on the Student’s transcript; and (4) the decision be published with the Student’s name withheld.