DATE: February 18, 2014
PARTIES: University of Toronto v N.P.
Hearing Date(s): January 30, 2014
Clifford Lax, Chair
Louis Florence, Faculty Member
Peter Qiang, Student Member
Tina Lie, Assistant Discipline Counsel
Eleanor Irwin, Dean’s Designate
Sinéad Cutt, Administrative Assistant, Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances
Trial Division – s. B.i.1(c) and s. B.i.3(b) of the Code – personation of a faculty member – removing exam paper from exam room – complex scheme involving personation of a faculty member and request of an exam of another faculty member – Student met with Dean’s Designate – admission of guilt – first time offender – grade of zero in the course; four year suspension; sanction recorded on academic record; and ordered that the case be reported to the Provost for publication until graduation
Student charged with personation of two faculty members and two offences under s. B.i.3(b) of the Code. The personation charges related to a scheme that the Student pretended to be a faculty member in correspondence with another faculty member. It was a sophisticated scheme the end goal of which was obtaining an exam. It was not a single isolated instance of bad judgement but a planned and deliberate attempt. The Student failed to obtain an exam and attended the exam on April 15, 2013 where he confirmed his attendance but removed an exam from the room. The Student met with the Dean’s Designate where he acknowledged that he removed the paper from the exam but denied impersonating the faculty member. The meeting was adjourned one week for the Student to seek legal advice and upon reconvention the Student admitted his personation scheme.
The Student appeared at the disciplinary hearing and admitted his guilt and the University withdrew one count. The University sought a penalty including a grade of zero in the course, a four year suspension, the sanction recorded on his academic record until graduation, and that the case be reported to the Provost for publication. The Student filed a “Letter of Mitigation” expressing remorse for his conduct. He asked the Panel to take into account that it was his first offense, he had good overall academic standing, and that he felt compelled to carry out his scheme due to immense pressure from his family. The Panel felt that while the Student did feel deep remorse he did not take full responsibility for his actions. The conduct required a severe sanction because if the Student’s scheme had succeeded he would almost certainly have been expelled. That he failed and admitted guilt justifies a reduction in length of suspension to four years. The Panel ordered a grade of zero in the course, a four year suspension, that this sanction be recorded on his academic record until graduation, and ordered that the case be reported to the Provost for publication.