Forged medical notes/official documents


FILE: Case #516 (2008-2009)
DATE: April 22, 2009
PARTIES: University of Toronto v. Mr. A.B.

Hearing Date(s): information not available

Panel Members:
Ms. Julie Hannaford, Chair
Professor Marc Lewis, Faculty Panel Member
Mr. Alex Kenjeev, Student Panel Member

Appearances:
Mr. Rob Centa, Assistant Discipline Counsel
Dr. Kristi Gourlay, Manager, Office of Student Academic Integrity
Mr. Max Shapiro, Student Representative, DLS
Mr. A.B., the Student

Trial Division – s. B.i.1(d) and ss. B.i.1(a) of Code – plagiarism and forged documents – course work, Medical Certificate and Accessibility Services Note – guilty plea to charges under s. B.i.1(d) – charges under s.B.i.1(a) denied – third party implicated – explanation of events not supported by evidence – finding of guilt – penalty hearings not attended – high likelihood of repetition of offence and little prospect of rehabilitation – no insight or remorse – grade assignment of zero for course; recommendation that the Student be expelled as per s. C.ii.(b)(i) of Code; and report to Provost – submissions on costs requested – jurisdiction to award costs – see s. C.II.(a)17(b) of the Code – awarding of costs not appropriate in case

The Student was charged with two offences under s. B.i.1(d), and two offences under of s. B.i.1(a) and alternatively, under s. B.i.3(b) of the Code. The charges related to alleged acts of plagiarism contained in two subsequent essays submitted for the same assignment in one course, and the alleged acts of forging or altering a University Medical Certificate and a letter purportedly from the University Accessibility Services, both of which were submitted with the first essay. The Student pleaded guilty to the charges under s. B.i.1(d) of the Code. The Tribunal heard evidence in respect to the remaining charges under s. B.i.1(a) and B.i.3(b) of the Code. The Student did not dispute that the two versions of the essay were plagiarized. The Panel found that the Student’s account of the events had changed over the course of the hearing but that the Student’s proposition was that a third party had altered and submitted the Student’s first essay along with a letter from the University’s Accessibility Services and created a false Medical Certificate, both of which were designed to extend the time for delivery of a paper by the Student. When meeting with the course professor to discuss concerns about the first essay, the Student submitted a second version of the essay which he said should have been originally submitted. After the meeting, the Student submitted a third version of the essay via email, which the Student claimed was the essay that he had intended to submit all along. The Panel found that the Student’s explanation of the events was not supported by the analysis of the USB key on which the paper was composed or by the computer logs at the University library where the Student claimed the paper was composed. The analysis of the USB key demonstrated that the first and second essays underwent significant alterations in order to disguise the existence of plagiarism and that the third essay was not created until after the Student’s meeting with the course professor. The Panel found that the Student submitted plagiarized work, altered an Accessibility Services Note and a Medical Certificate, repeatedly denied doing the acts and implicated other innocent individuals in the acts. The Panel found that the Student was guilty of all the offences for which he was charged. The Student did not attend either of the two penalty hearing scheduled to accommodate him. In reaching its decision, the Panel focused on the fact that there were four acts which gave rise to the conviction, that the four acts all occurred within a short timeframe, that the second plagiarized essay was submitted at a meeting held to discuss plagiarism concerns and that the four acts were part of a pattern. The Panel observed that the intertwined use and abuse of the Accessibility Services by the Student, together with the repeated plagiarism, played a significant role in its consideration of the likelihood of a repetition of an offence by the Student. The Panel observed that when a Student engages in both plagiarism and a misuse of the University policy related to accommodation of students, and when, in addition, the student in defense implicates another student, the need for deterrence becomes important. The Panel found that the Student demonstrated no insight or remorse for the charges he was found, or for which he had pleaded, guilty. The Panel found that there was a high likelihood that the Student would repeat the offence and that there was little to no prospect of rehabilitation. The Panel imposed a grade assignment of zero in the course; a recommendation to the President, further to s. C.ii.(b)(i) of the Code, that the Student be expelled from the University; and that a report be issued to the Provost. Submissions as to costs were requested by a member of the Panel. In its submissions on costs, the University submitted that, as per s. C.II.(a)17(b) of the Code, the Panel has jurisdiction to award costs and that the Panel had exercised that jurisdiction recently, but that in the circumstances of the case the University did not request the Panel to do so. The Panel agreed with the University that the awarding of costs was not appropriate in the case.



FILE: Case #03-04-02 (2003-2004)
DATE: April 16, 2004
PARTIES: University of Toronto v. Mr. P.

Hearing Date(s): January 28, 2003, February 4, 2004 and March 31, 2004

Panel Members:
Michael Hines, Co-Chair
Professor Arthur Silver, faculty member,
Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux, student member,

Appearances:
Gleb Bazov, DLS, for Mr. P.
Lily I. Harmer, for the University
Paul Holmes, Judicial Affairs Officer
Betty-Ann Campbell, Paliare Roland Rosenberg Rothstein LLP
Mr. P., accused

Trial Division - s. B.i.1(a) of Code – forged documents – forged letters, forged Motor Vehicle Accident Report, false information and forged fax in support of false information – two courses – hearing not attended – hearing adjourned to locate Student and serve notice of hearing – guilty plea – Agreed Statement of Facts - credibility doubted and testimony unreliable - egregious and reprehensible actions – repeated lies to professors, forgery of documents and implication of third party – clear and calculating attempt to avoid full accountability - events a reaction to stress of learning about becoming a father - lies began before learning about becoming a father – inconsistencies between character and core values of University not made up by possibility of success in meeting acceptable academic threshold - University submission on penalty accepted - grade assignment of zero for two courses; recommendation that the Student be expelled as per s. C.ii.(b)(i) of Code; five-year suspension pending expulsion decision; and report to Provost

Student charged with five offences under s. B.i.1(a), and alternatively, five offences under s. B.i.3(b) of the Code. The charges related to allegations that the Student provided two forged letters and a forged Motor Vehicle Accident Report in support of a request to write a make-up lab final test in one course, and that the Student provided false information supporting his absence from a term exam in another course and a forged handwritten fax in support of the false information. Neither the Student nor counsel for the Student were present at the hearing. The Panel considered evidence that that there was a possibility that the Student no longer resided in Canada and found that it was appropriate to adjourn the hearing to make further efforts to locate and serve the Student with notice of the hearing. At the reconvened hearing, the Student pleaded guilty to the charges. The parties submitted an Agreed Statement of Facts. The Panel considered the Agreed Statement of Facts and the submissions of counsel and accepted the guilty plea. The Panel doubted the Student’s credibility and found his testimony unreliable. The Panel found that the Student’s actions were egregious and reprehensible. The Panel found that the Student lied repeatedly to his professors, forged numerous documents, implicated other organizations, including a police service and while admitting wrongdoing to the Dean in one case, he continued to lie about another in a clear and calculating attempt to avoid full accountability. The Panel considered the Student’s submission that he was a changed person as a result of the birth of his son and that at the time of the events in question he was reacting to the stress of learning he was to become a father. The Panel found that the Student’s lies began one month before he learned that he was to become a father. The Panel observed that stresses resulting from learning about becoming a father do not end with the birth of one’s child. The Panel stated its discomfort with the prospect of the Student having to cope with future difficulties. The Panel considered the Student’s academic history and status and found that his proximity to obtaining his degree was not a relevant factor to consider. The fact that the Student could have succeeded in meeting an acceptable academic threshold did not make up for the inconsistencies between his character and the core values of the University. The Panel accepted the University’s submission on penalty and imposed a mark of zero in the two courses; a recommendation to the President, further to s. C.ii.(b)(i) of the Code, that the Student be expelled from the University; and that a report be issued to the Provost.