DATE: June 6, 2018
PARTIES: University of Toronto v. Y.W. (“the Student”)
Hearing Date(s): April 3, 2018
Ms. Roslyn M. Tsao, Chair
Professor Graeme Hirst, Faculty Panel Member
Mr. Eric Bryce, Student Panel Member
Ms. Lily Harmer, Assistant Discipline Counsel for University, Paliare Roland Barristers
Professor Luc De Nil, Vice-Dean, Students, School of Graduate Studies
Ms. Krista Osbourne, Administrative Clerk and Hearing Secretary, Office of Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances
Trial Division - s. B.ii.1(a)ii – aiding or assisting another person to commit an offence under s. B.i.1(b) of the Code – misconduct by teaching assistant – teaching assistant completing assignments for a student enrolled in the course – penalties for misconduct after a degree has been conferred – degree suspension - agreed statement of facts – guilty plea – joint submission on penalty – recommendation of suspension of the degree for three years, transcript notation for four years, and a report to the Provost for publication
The Student had recently obtained his Master of Arts degree from the University and was working as a teaching assistant. The charges related to his providing unauthorized assistance to a student enrolled in the course by writing the majority of her assignments in the course. The matter proceeded by way of an agreed statement of facts (ASF), a guilty plea and a joint submission of penalty (JSP). The Student pled guilty to three of the charges which related to aiding or assisting another person contrary to Section B.ii.l(a)(ii) to obtain unauthorized assistance contrary to Section B.i.l(b) of the Code. The University withdrew the other four charges.
The Parties’ JSP requested: (1) that the Student's degree be suspended for a period of three years; (2) that the sanction be recorded for a period of four years on the Student's academic record and transcript; and (3) that the case be reported to the Provost with the Student’s name withheld. The Panel noted that there is a very high threshold for departing from a JSP; that the Panel would need to find that its acceptance would be contrary to the public interest and bring the administration of justice into disrepute. The Panel was referred to other cases which showed that the penalties available to impose on a student who has graduated are more limited than for a current student but the more serious sanction of revocation of the Student's degree was not appropriate given that it was a first offence, that the Student had admitted guilt early in the process and acknowledged his misconduct. The Panel found the JSP was reasonable in these circumstances and ordered: (1) that the Student's degree be suspended for a period of three years; (2) that the sanction be recorded for a period of four years on the Student's academic record and transcript; and (3) that the case be reported to the Provost with the Student’s name withheld.