Case #963

DATE: September 10, 2018

PARTIES: University of Toronto v. Q.W. (“the Student”)
Hearing Date(s): August 22, 2018
Panel Members:
Ms. Breese Davies, Chair
Professor Ian Crandall, Faculty Panel Member
Ms. Morgan Watkins, Student Panel Member
Appearances:
Ms. Lily Harmer, Assistant Discipline Counsel for the University, Paliare Roland
Ms. Wanda Restivo, Dean’s Designate, Office of the Vice-Principal (Academic) and Dean, University of Toronto Scarborough
In Attendance:
Ms. Krista Osbourne, Administrative Clerk and Hearing Secretary, Office of Appeals,
Discipline, Faculty Grievances
Mr. Sean Lourim, IT Support, Office of the Governing Council
Not in Attendance:
The Student
Trial Division - s. B.i.3(a) – forging or falsifying an academic record – forged transcript – student did not attend hearing – reasonable notice provided on the basis of emails, attendance at case management conference – recommendation of expulsion, suspension of up to five years pending expulsion; permanent notation on transcript; that the decision be reported to the Provost with the Student’s name withheld.
The Student was charged with three charges of forging or falsifying an academic record contrary to s.B.i.3(a) of the Code, or in the alternative three charges of academic dishonesty not otherwise described contrary to s. B.i.3(b) of the Code. The charges related to the Student’s application to be a transfer student at the University which contained transcripts and other documentation that were forged. The Student did not attend the hearing. However, the Tribunal found that the matter could proceed in the absence of the Student and that reasonable notice of the hearing had been provided pursuant to Rule 17 of the Rules of Practice and Procedure and s. 7 of the Statutory Powers Procedure Act because the Student had responded to the University’s email that had the Notice of Hearing attached to it and had engaged in planning the conference in a number of correspondences with the University thereafter (e.g. a case management conference, setting the hearing date, setting up his Skype). On the basis of affidavits which showed that the Student had applied to the University with a forged transcript and had lied when questioned about his attendance at another institution (which he had not, in fact attended) the Tribunal found the Student to be guilty of three charges of forging or falsifying an academic record contrary to s.B.i.3(a) of the Code. The University withdrew the alternative charges.
The University sought an order that the Student: (a) be suspended for up to five years pending expulsion; (b) that the Tribunal recommend that the Student be expelled from the University; (c) a permanent notation on the Student’s academic record and transcript; (d) that the decision be reported to the Provost with the Student’s name withheld. In accepting the proposed sanction, the Tribunal referred to the case University of Toronto v. Y.X. (Case No. 952; April 4, 2018) for the proposition that forgery or falsification of academic records is among the most serious academic offences because it is deliberate, difficult to detect, and poses considerable harm to the reputation and integrity of the University. The Tribunal referred to a number of other cases that ordered expulsion where a transcript had been forged (Z.Z. (Case No. 958; April 17, 2018), A.B. (Case No. 917; June 13, 2017) at para. 18, J.F.(Case No. 915; May 29, 2017) at para. 14, J.Z. (Case No. 928; June 5, 2017) at para. 22, and Y.X., supra at para. 39). The Student did not attend the hearing; the Tribunal proceeded as though it were his first offence. Though the Student had participated in a case management conference, he had not participated in a Dean’s meeting, nor was there an explanation for the Student’s absence at the hearing. The Panel ordered that the Student: (a) be suspended for up to five years pending expulsion; (b) a recommendation that the Student be expelled; (c) a permanent notation on the Student’s academic record and transcript; (d) that the decision be reported to the Provost with the Student’s name withheld.