In Connection with Plagiarism

FILE: Case #01-02-07 (2001-2002)
DATE: May 6, 2002
PARTIES: University of Toronto v. D.B.

Hearing Date(s): April 22, April 24, 2002

Panel Members:
Ronald G. Slaght, Q.C., Co-Chair
Daniel R. Brooks, faculty member
Karen Iverson, student member

No one appearing for the student
Lily I. Harmer, for the University
Paul Holmes, Judicial Affairs Officer, Governing Council Secretariat
Thomas Legler, Postdoctoral Fellow, Centre for Global Studies, University of Victoria
Liisa North, Faculty member, York University
Miguel Torrens, Reference Librarian, Ibero & Ibero-American Collection, Robarts Library
Susan Bartkiw, Administrative Assistant, Faculty of Arts and Science

Trial Division – s. B.i.1(d) and s. B.i.1(f) of Code – plagiarism and concoction – paper plagiarized from another student’s work at another university and concocted bibliography – hearing not attended – reasonable notice of hearing - document warning against and defining plagiarism received or made available - paper written in response to another university course’s assignment and material - two bibliography references concocted and other alterations affected – finding of guilt - two-year suspension consistent with past Tribunal decisions – no mitigating evidence - three-year notation an incentive to return to the University and effect rehabilitation – University’s submission on penalty accepted - grade assignment of zero for course; two-year suspension; three-year notation on the Student’s transcript; and report to Provost

Student charged under s. B.i.1(d) and s. B.i.1(f) of the Code. The charges related to allegations that the Student submitted a paper that was plagiarized from an answer, written by another individual, to a question on a take-home examination given for a course at another university, and that he concocted the bibliography submitted with the paper. The Student did not attend the hearing. The Panel considered the evidence of the Judicial Affairs Officer and found that adequate notice of the hearing dates had been given. The Panel found that despite no direct evidence it was reasonable to infer that the Student received a document, or a document was made available to him, that warned against and defined plagiarism. The Panel examined the assignment instructions and reviewed the paper at issue and found that the paper was not responsive to the assignment. The Panel considered the bibliography and found that references were changed to conform to the assignment requirements. The Panel considered the testimony of the professor who wrote the exam question at the other university and found that the submitted paper was written using the articles from the course kit for the course at the other university, contained references consistent with the professor’s citation instructions, and was written as a response to the take-home examination assignment from that course. The Panel considered the evidence from a reference librarian and found that on all the evidence, two references in the bibliography were concocted and that other alterations and fictitious references in the bibliography were affected in an attempt to alter sources from those found in the course kit. The Panel found that, on the basis of all the circumstantial evidence and the fact that the Student did not attend at the hearing, the Student obtained the paper from a third party, and probably also the kit contents index; concocted major elements of the bibliography; knowingly submitted another’s work as his own; and that the charges were proved on clear and convincing evidence. The Panel found that a two-year suspension was consistent with past Tribunal decisions in like cases. The Panel found that as a result of the Student not being in attendance, it was not in a position to consider mitigating evidence. The Panel found that a three-year notation was acceptable because it might act as an incentive for the Student to return to the University and effect some rehabilitation. The Panel found that the fact that there were two offences should not technically lead to impose a more severe sanction. The Panel accepted the University’s submission on penalty and imposed a grade of zero in the course; a two-year suspension; a three-year notation on the Student’s academic record and transcript; and that a report be issued to the Provost.