Case #04-05-01

DATE: September 20, 2004
PARTIES: University of Toronto v. Ms. A

Hearing Date(s): August 18, 2004

Panel Members:
Melanie Aitken, Co-Chair
Scott Browning, Faculty Panel Member
Trisha Sankarsingh, Student Panel Member

Jacqueline Freeman for Ms. A.
Lily I. Harmer, Assistant Discipline Counsel, for the University

Trial Division - s. B.i.1(d) of Code – plagiarism – research paper copied from internet – guilty plea – Agreed Statement of Facts – Joint Submission on Penalty – significance of guilty plea and Joint Submission on Penalty - sensitivity to personal circumstances and future employment applications – recommended starting date of suspension not appropriate - appreciation of severity of matter as a graduate student and deterrence message – Joint Submission on Penalty accepted with modification – grade assignment of zero for course; one-year suspension commencing from the date of acknowledgement of the offence; two-year notation on transcript; and report to Provost with the recommendation that the notice recognize that the suspension commenced on the date of acknowledgment of responsibility for offence

Student charged under s. B.i.1(d), and alternatively, under s. B.i.3(b) of the Code. The charges related to allegations that the Student submitted a research paper plagiarized from the internet. The Student pleaded guilty to the charge under s. B.i.1(d) of the Code. The parties submitted an Agreed Statement of Facts. The Panel accepted the Student’s guilty plea. The parties submitted a Joint Submission with Respect to Sanction. At the time of the hearing the Student was enrolled at the teacher’s college of another university. The Panel found the Student’s guilty plea, and the fact that the recommendations as to sanction were joint, to be significant. The Panel found that the recommendations reflected the gravity and nature of the offence. The Panel stated that it was sensitive to the Student’s personal circumstances and her concern to be able to move forward professionally and academically when she submited her University academic transcript with job applications. The Panel accepted the Joint Submission with Respect to Sanction, subject to one modification. The Panel found that the recommended starting date of the suspension was not appropriate, both from the perspective of the Student’s appreciation, as a graduate student, of the severity of the matter, and the deterrence message to the community. The Panel found that the recommended one-year suspension should not commence until the date of the Student’s acknowledgement of her responsibility for her conduct, and that the notice of the decision should expressly refer to that fact. The Panel imposed a grade of zero in the course; a one-year suspension commencing from the date of the Student’s acknowledgement of the offence; a two-year notation on the Student’s academic record and transcript; and that a report be issued to the Provost with a recommendation that the notice expressly refer to the fact that the suspension commenced on the date that the Student acknowledged her responsibility.