Case 1047

DATE: July 21, 2020
PARTIES: University of Toronto v. M.S.D.

HEARING DATE: June 24, 2020, via Zoom

Panel Members:
Ms. Cynthia B. Kuehl, Chair
Professor Richard B. Day, Faculty Panel Member
Ms. Alice Zhu, Student Panel Member

Appearances:
Ms. Lily Harmer, Assistant Discipline Counsel, Paliare Roland Rosenberg Rothstein LLP
Mr. Eunwoo Lee, The Student's Representative, Downtown Legal Services

In Attendance:
Mr. Christopher Lang, Director, Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances

In a decision dated November 18, 2019, the Panel found the Student guilty of one charge under the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters, 1995 (the “Code”), namely that he knew or ought to have reasonably known that he possessed an unauthorized aid sheet in connection with a final examination, contrary to s. B.i.l(b) of the Code.

On June 24, 2020, the Panel reconvened to determine the appropriate sanction in light of this finding (the “penalty hearing”). The Panel explained the unusual seven-month delay between the finding and the penalty hearing. The delay was partly due to the unanticipated and unavoidable Covid-19 pandemic. The Panel granted adjournments so the Student could seek representation and to allow his new representative to prepare for the penalty hearing. The parties’ Agreed Statement of Facts (“ASF”) included details of two prior academic offences by the Student (i.e. plagiarism and possession of an unauthorized aid during a final examination) and supplemented the Student’s evidence. The Student also submitted an affidavit. The parties made joint submissions on penalty.

The Panel was mindful that a Joint Submission on Penalty (“JSP”) ought not to be disturbed unless to do so would bring the administration of justice into disrepute or be contrary to the values of the University. It also added that the threshold to reject a joint submission had not been met given the very unusual circumstances of the global pandemic, the implications on the Student’s life and the presence of mitigating factors. It also noted that the extraordinary circumstances of the pandemic resulted in its acceptance of the JSP that results in a suspension, which, while intended to be three years, in practical effect was substantially less.

The Panel imposed the following sanctions: grade assignment of zero in the course; a suspension of just over 26 months; a four-year notation on the transcript; report to Provost for publication with the Student’s name withheld.