Case #978

DATE: May 27, 2019
PARTIES: University of Toronto v. M.B. (“the Student”)
Hearing Date: April 11, 2019
Panel Members:
Mr. Christopher Wirth, Chair
Dr. Blake Poland, Faculty Panel Member
Mr. Jin Peng Zhou, Student Panel Member
Appearances:
Ms. Lily Harmer, Assistant Discipline Counsel, Paliare Roland Rosenberg Rothstein LLP
Hearing Secretary:
Ms. Krista Osbourne, Administrative Clerk and Hearing Secretary, Office of Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances, University of Toronto
Not in Attendance:
The Student
Trial Division - s. B.i.1(b) and (d) of the Code - unauthorized aid and plagiarism - student did not attend hearing - Agreed Statement of Facts – guilty plea – Joint Submission on Penalty – final grade of zero in two courses; four-year suspension; notation of sanction on academic record until one year after graduation, withdrawal or program termination; and publication of notice of decision and sanction with student’s name withheld.
The Student was charged with one count of using an unauthorized aid under s. B.i.1(b) of the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters, 1995 (the "Code") on the basis that he had six pages of relevant notes in his possession during a final examination. The Student was also charged with two counts of plagiarism under s. B.i.1(d) of the Code on the basis that he knowingly represented the work of another as his own in a book report and a slide presentation submitted for course credit. The Student was charged, in the alternative, under s. B.i.3(b) of the Code with three counts of cheating for academic credit.
The Student did not attend the hearing. However, in an Agreed Statement of Facts (ASF) submitted by the parties, the Student admitted that he had received reasonable notice of the hearing and further requested that the hearing proceed in his absence. The ASF also stated that the Student pleads guilty to all charges.
The Panel found the Student guilty of two counts of plagiarism under s. B.i.1(d) of the Code and one count of using or possessing an unauthorized aid under s. B.i.1(b) of the Code. The Panel based its finding upon the ASF, the Student’s admissions, and a review of the plagiarized source material. The Panel noted that the evidence was clear and convincing and showed on a balance of probabilities that the Student committed the offences as charged under s. B.i.1(b) and (d) of the Code.
By way of a Joint Submission on Penalty (JSP), the parties submitted that the Tribunal should impose the following sanctions on the Student: a final grade of zero in two courses; a four-year suspension; a notation of sanction on the Student’s academic record until one year after graduation, withdrawal or program termination; and publication of notice of decision and sanction, with Student name withheld.
The Panel accepted the JSP, noting that it was required to do so unless doing so would bring the administration of justice into disrepute or would be contrary to the public interest. The Panel also noted that this was the Student’s first offence and that the proposed penalty was appropriate given the relevant factors set out in University of Toronto v. Mr. C (Case No. 1976/77-3, November 3, 1976). The Panel found that the proposed penalty was in accordance with other decisions of this tribunal in similar circumstances. The Panel imposed a final grade of zero in two courses; a four-year suspension; a notation of sanction on the Student’s academic record until one year after graduation, withdrawal or program termination; and publication of notice of decision and sanction, with Student name withheld.