DATE: July 27, 2020
PARTIES: University of Toronto v. T.M. (“the Student”)
HEARING DATE(S): April 27, 2020
Ms. Lori Anne Thomas, Chair
Professor Pascal Riendeau, Faculty Panel Member
Mr. Abdul Sidiqi, Student Panel Member
Mr. Robert Centa, Assistant Discipline Counsel, Paliare Roland Rosenberg Rothstein LLP
Ms. Meg Cormack, Law Student, Downtown Legal Services
Not in Attendance:
Mr. Christopher Lang, Director, Office of the Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances, University of Toronto
The Student was charged with two counts under s. B.i.1(a) of the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters, 1995 (“Code”) on the basis that she knowingly falsified statements about her purported work history in applications for work-study positions, or she knowingly uttered, circulated, or made use of those falsified statements. She was alternatively charged under s. B.i.3(a) of the Code.
The parties submitted an ASF. The Student admitted to all the charges, and the Panel was satisfied that her admissions were voluntary, informed and unequivocal. It found her guilty of two counts of the academic offence under s. B.i.1(a) of the Code. The University withdrew the alternative charges under s. B.i.3(a).
Relying on the JSP and JBA, the Panel noted the Student’s prior offence under s. B.i.1(b) of the Code and the fact that she was represented by a law student from the Downtown Legal Services (“DLS”). To determine the sanction, the Panel referenced the decision from the Discipline Appeals Board in The University of Toronto and M. A. (Case No. 837, December 22, 2016), which affirms R. v. Anthony-Cook, 2016 SCC 43, for the propositions that the Tribunal should impose a penalty jointly submitted unless doing so “would be fundamentally contrary to the interests of the University community and objectively unreasonable or unconscionable.” In light of this decision, the Panel stressed the need for certainty when parties come to an agreement. Since the hearing was held at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, it accepted the University’s submission that it makes the need for certainty greater than in the ordinary course.
In imposing the sanctions, the Panel considered the Student’s remorse for her actions and acknowledgment of her guilt and responsibility. It also observed that the likelihood of re-offending upon graduation was eliminated because the Student had completed her courses, pending her final grades for that semester. Additionally, the Panel considered the seriousness of falsifying work history to enter a program, the fact that the Student had made poor choices out of desperation, and the need to denounce and deter deliberate dishonesty to protect academic integrity of the University.
The Panel imposed the following sanctions: three-year suspension; four-year notation on the Student’s academic record and transcript; report to Provost for publication of the decision and sanctions, with the name of the Student withheld.