Case #985

FILE: Case # 985 (18-19)
DATE: March 4, 2019
PARTIES: University of Toronto v F.Y

Hearing Date: December 6, 2018

Panel Members:
Mr. Shaun Laubman, Chair
Professor Richard B. Day, Faculty Panel Member
Ms. Emily Hawes, Student Panel Member

Appearances:
F.Y., the Student
Ms. Tina Lie, Assistant Discipline Counsel, Palaire Roland Rosenberg Rothstein LLP

In Attendance:
Ms. Krista Osbourne, Administrative Clerk and Hearing Secretary, Office of Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances

Trial Division – s. B.i.1(d) of Code - plagiarism – Student submitted paper for course credit containing work of another knowingly represented as Student’s own work – Student denied charges and mounted attack on professor’s integrity as defence – guilty – no evidence of extenuating factors – no remorse - grade assignment of zero for course; two-year suspension; three-year notation on transcript or until graduation, whichever is earlier; and publication by Provost of notice of decision and sanctions with Student’s name withheld

The Student was charged with one count of academic misconduct under section B.i.1(d) of the Code. The Student knowingly represented the work of another as her own work in a final paper submitted for course credit.

The Student pleaded not guilty at the hearing and testified in her own defence. The Student was not represented by legal counsel. While the Student stridently denied the charges, the Panel found the Student guilty of plagiarism in violation of section B.i.1(d) of the Code because she presented no evidence demonstrating that she had independently come up with the thesis and arguments contained in her final paper. Moreover, the Panel accepted the course professor’s testimony that similarities between the Student’s final paper and another paper published online (written by someone else) were striking and could not be explained away as mere coincidence.

The Panel accepted the University’s proposed penalty, namely, a final grade of zero in the course; a two-year suspension; a three-year notation of sanction on the Student’s transcript; and publication by the Provost of the notice of decision and sanctions with the Student’s name withheld. The Panel concluded that the University’s proposed penalty was reasonable and appropriate because the sanctions were well within the range of reasonable sanctions for similar offences in precedent decisions; the Student had no prior academic offences on her record; the Student showed no remorse and consistently refused to accept responsibility for the plagiarism and instead mounted an attack on the professor’s integrity in her defence; the Student blamed the professor for the Student’s situation; the Student did not present any evidence of extenuating factors; and there was no indication the Student had learned from her mistake. The Panel therefore ordered a final grade assignment of zero for the course; a two-year suspension; a three-year notation of sanction on the Student’s transcript; and publication by the Provost of the notice of decision and sanctions with the Student’s name withheld.