DATE: June 29, 2021
PARTIES: University of Toronto v. A.I.
HEARING DATE: April 1, 2021, via Zoom
Ms. Sabrina Bandali, Chair
Professor Ken Derry, Faculty Panel Member
Ms. Alice Zhu, Student Panel Member
Ms. Lily Harmer, Assistant Discipline Counsel, Paliare Roland Rosenberg Rothstein LLP
Mr. Stuart Leary, Representative for the Student, Downtown Legal Services
Ms. Carmelle Salomon-Labbe, Associate, Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances
The Student was charged under s. B.i.1(a) of the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters, 1995 (the “Code”) on the basis that she knowingly falsified a document or evidence required by the University of Toronto, namely, the Student wrote a false name and address on the examination booklet during a final examination or knowingly uttered, circulated or made use of that forged, altered or falsified document. In addition, and in the alternative, the Student knowingly forged or in any other way altered or falsified an academic record, namely, an examination booklet for a final examination, or knowingly uttered, circulated or made use of that forged, altered or falsified academic record contrary to s. B.i.3(a) of the Code. In the further alternative, the Student knowingly engaged in a form of cheating, academic dishonesty or misconduct, fraud or misrepresentation in order to obtain academic credit or other academic advantage, contrary to s. B.i.3(b) of the Code.
The Student attended the hearing and was represented. The University and the Student submitted an Agreed Statement of Facts (“ASF”) and Joint Book of Documents (“JBD”). The Student deferred her final exam in the course to the summer of 2019 when the Student, as admitted in the ASF, attended the exam, wrote her name and student number on the Exam Attendee List, was unable to answer the exam questions, erased and crossed out her own information on the exam booklet and replaced it with a fictitious name and contact information, submitted the fictitiously named exam to make it appear that she had not written it, and made assertions to the Professor of the course that she was expecting to receive a mark for her exam she purported to submit knowing there was no exam containing her name or other identifying information. The Student admitted guilt to all three charges. The Panel was satisfied that the Student’s admissions were voluntary, informed and unequivocal. The Panel found that the evidence contained in the ASF and JBD provide a clear basis for a finding of guilt, therefore, the Panel concluded that the first charge had been proven and accepted the guilty plea of the Student in respect to this charge. The University withdrew the alternative charges.
The Panel received submissions from both the University and the Student with respect to the sanctions that should be imposed on the Student. The University asked the Panel to take into consideration that it is a serious matter to suggest an exam was lost as it is an attempt to undermine the integrity of the professor who was responsible for the administration of the exam. The Student asked the Panel to take into consideration that there was no evidence that the conduct was preplanned, that she did not have any prior offences, her guilty plea, and the fact that there was little risk of repetition because she had completed enough credits to graduate.
The Panel considered the factors and principles relevant to sanction set out in University of Toronto and Mr. C (Case No. 1976/77-3, November 5, 1976), namely, the character of the Student, the likelihood of repetition, the nature of the offence, any extenuating circumstances, the detriment to the University and the need for deterrence. The Panel considered the seriousness of the offence, the lack of extenuating circumstances, and the need for general deterrence. Balanced against these factors are the Student's cooperation in the process and entry into the ASF. She admitted guilt, expressed that she is remorseful for her actions, and attended the hearing, which reflects the Student's character and demonstrates that she is taking responsibility for her actions. The Panel further noted that since the Student had completed her requirements to graduate, the likelihood of repetition is low.
Having regard for all of the above, the Panel imposed the following sanctions: a final grade of zero in the course; a 21-month suspension; a 33-month notation on the transcript; and a report to the Provost for publication.