Case #982

DATE: May 8, 2019
PARTIES: University of Toronto v. P.H.Q.
Hearing Date: March 21, 2019
Panel Members:
Mr. F. Paul Morrison, Chair
Prof. Lynne Howarth, Faculty Member
Mr. David Allens, Student Member
Appearances:
Mr. Robert Centa, Assistant Discipline Counsel, Paliare Roland Rosenberg Rothstein LLP
Ms. Jodi Zhang, Representative for the Student, Downtown Legal Services
In Attendance:
Ms. Krista Osbourne, Administrative Clerk & Hearing Secretary, Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances
Trial Division – s. B.i.1(d) of Code – plagiarism – Student submitted a film review containing the work of others represented as her own – Agreed Statement of Facts – guilty plea – Joint Submission on Penalty accepted - prior academic offence – cooperation, remorse and other mitigating circumstances - final grade of zero in the course; five-year suspension; six-year notation on academic record; publication of notice of decision and sanction, with Student’s name withheld.
The Student was charged with one offence under s. B.i.1(d) of the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters, 1995 (the “Code”) for knowingly representing the work of another as his own in a film review submitted for partial course credit. The Student was charged in the alternative with one academic offences under s. B.i.3(b) of the Code (cheating for academic advantage). The Student attended the hearing with a legal representative.
The parties submitted an Agreed Statement of Facts (“ASF”) to the Panel, in which the Student admitted that she had purchased the film review for $200 from an online source and that she knowingly submitted it in essentially the same form as she had received it, contributing no meaningful academic work. The Student entered a plea of guilty to both charges. The University undertook to withdraw the alternative charge if the Student was found guilty of the first charge. The Panel accepted the Student’s plea of guilty to the first charge and, in accordance with its undertaking, the University withdrew the alternative charge.
The parties also submitted a Joint Statement on Penalty (“JSP”) setting out the particulars of one prior academic offence of plagiarism. In considering whether to accept the JSP, the Panel noted that a JSP may be rejected only in circumstances where it is fundamentally offensive to the entrenched set of values and behaviours that members of the University community are expected to uphold. The Panel was particularly impressed with the extent of the Student’s cooperation, her remorse, and her difficult personal circumstances. The Panel found that these factors were of assistance in considering the JSP, particularly as the JSP recommended a penalty less severe than that of expulsion, which might otherwise have applied to an offence of this nature. The Panel accepted the JSP and imposed the following sanctions: a final grade of zero in the course; a five-year suspension from the University; a notation of this sanction on the Student’s academic record and transcript for six years; and publication by the Provost of a notice of the decision and sanction imposed, with the name of the Student withheld.