DATE: October 1, 2014
PARTIES: University of Toronto v S.N.
Hearing Date(s): September 17, 2014
Roslyn Tsao, Chair
Maria Rozakis-Adcock, Faculty Member
Alice Zhu, Student Member
Lily Harmer, Assistant Discipline Counsel
Eleanor Irwin, Dean’s Designate, UTS
Dan Riggs, Instructor
Christopher Lang, Director, Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances
Trial Division – s. B.i.1(a) of the Code – forged document required by the University – Scantron exam sheet – Student attended hearing – not-guilty plea – delayed medical evidence – inconsistent evidence – finding of guilt – five-year suspension; grade of zero in courses; two year suspension; notation on transcript for three years – report to Provost for publication
The Student was charged with an offence under s. B.i.1(a), in the alternative, an offence under s. B.i.3(a), and, in the alternative, an offence under s. B.i.3(b) of the Code. The Student pleaded not guilty to each charge.
The course instructor testified that, following an exam, the Student contacted him to discuss his grade. The Student claimed that he had not written the exam, as he had left after signing in on a form due to illness. Upon investigation the instructor found that the only exam answer sheet not matching the sign in form shared many similarities with the Student’s name and handwriting. After unsuccessfully trying to set up a follow-up meeting with the Student, the instructor forwarded the matter to the Dean’s Designate. The Designate met with the Student who informed her that he had left the exam due to a serious illness which prevented him from returning to school. The Designate informed him she would be forwarding the matter to the Provost and requested medical evidence to attach to his file. Over the course of several months the Designate was in contact with the Student and his girlfriend and received differing information as to the type of illness the Student was suffering from. Approximately five months later the Designate received a signed medical note from a doctor stating the Student suffered from anxiety, not the same illness the Student or his girlfriend had initially described. Further, there were inconsistencies in the Student’s deferral petitions.
The Student testified and was cross-examined and further inconsistencies and questions were raised as to the type of illness he suffered from, details the day of the final exam, and details of an adjournment of an earlier hearing date.
The Panel found the Student’s testimony unconvincing on several issues including his misrepresentation of having “missed” the exam when his attendance was confirmed. The Panel found the Student guilty of Charge 1 and the alternative charges were dropped.
The University sought a penalty of a final grade of zero in the course, a suspension of two years, and a notation on the Student’s transcript for two years. The Panel then considered penalty factors including that it was the Student’s first offence and found the University’s suggested penalty to be fair and appropriate. The Panel imposed grade of zero in the course, a suspension of two years, a notation on the Student’s transcript for two years, and that the case be reported to the Provost for publication.