Case #972

DATE: September 26, 2018

PARTIES: University of Toronto v. A.D. (“the Student”)
Hearing Date(s): September 18, 2018
Panel Members:
Mr. Paul Michell, Chair
Dr. Chris Koenig-Woodyard, Faculty Panel Member Ms. Elizabeth Frangos, Student Panel Member
Appearances:
Ms. Tina Lie, Assistant Discipline Counsel for the University, Paliare Roland Barristers
Mr. Denna Jalili, Downtown Legal Services, for the Student
In Attendance:
Mr. Christopher Lang, Director, Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances
Ms. Lucy Gaspini, Director, Academic Success and Integrity, Office of the Vice-Principal Academic and Dean, University of Toronto Mississauga
Mr. Sean Lourim, Technology Assistant, Office of the Governing Council
Mr. Hatim Kheir, Downtown Legal Services, Observer
Ms. Jodi Zhang, Downtown Legal Services, Observer
Mr. Gianluca De Gasperi Delpino, Downtown Legal Services, Observer
The Student
Trial Division - s. B.i.1(d) – plagiarism – purchased essay - agreed statement of facts – guilty plea – prior offence - joint submission on penalty – a final grade of zero in the course; five-year suspension; notation on the Student’s transcript until graduation, report to the Provost with the student’s name withheld
The Student was charged with knowingly representing an idea or work of another in an assignment as her own contrary to s.B.i.1(d) of the Code; or in the alternative, unauthorized assistance contrary to academic dishonesty not otherwise described contrary to s. B.i.1(b) of the Code; or in the further alternative, unauthorized assistance not otherwise described contrary to, s.B.i.3(b) of the Code. The charges related to an essay that the Student had submitted in a course that had been purchased from a commercial provider of essays. The matter proceeded by way of an agreed statement of facts. The student pled guilty to the first charge, the University withdrew the alternative charge.
The parties submitted a joint submission on penalty (JSP) requesting an order: (a) that the student receive a grade of zero in the affected course; (b) a five-year suspension; (c) a notation be placed on the Student’s transcript until graduation; and (d) that the matter be reported to the Provost with the Student’s name withheld. The Tribunal referred to DAB decisions University of Toronto v. M.A. [Case No. 837; December 22, 2016] and S.F. [Case No. 690; October 20, 2014] for the proposition that the Tribunal should accept joint submissions on penalty unless exceptional circumstances apply. The Tribunal applied the Mr. C. [Case No. 1976/77-3; November 5, 2976] factors to the Student’s circumstances. In terms of the nature of the offence/general deterrence/harm to the University, the Tribunal found that purchasing an essay was a very serious academic offence. As well, the Student had been found guilty of plagiarism before. While purchased essay plagiarism generally attracts a penalty of expulsion (Z.Z. [Case No. 918; August 23, 2017]; Appendix "C" to the Code ), the Tribunal noted that there were mitigating circumstances such as the Student’s cooperation in the discipline process, promptly admitting guilt, and her trying medical and personal circumstances, and that without her confession, it would have been challenging for the Provost to prove anything other than plagiarism (see S.H. [Case No. 574; November 16, 2010] at para. 7). The Tribunal accepted the parties’ JSP and ordered: (a) that the student receive a grade of zero in the affected course; (b) a five-year suspension; (c) a notation be placed on the Student’s transcript until graduation; and (d) that the matter be reported to the Provost with the Student’s name withheld.