Case #551

DATE: January 7, 2010
PARTIES: University of Toronto v. M.L.

Hearing Date(s): August 19, 2009

Panel Members:
Jane Pepino, Chair
Ron Smyth, Faculty Member
Elena Kuzmin, Student Member

Lily Harmer, Assistant Discipline Counsel for the University
Lwam Ghebrehariat, DLS for the Student
Dr. Tamara Jones, Academic Integrity Officer
Prof. Lenard Whiting, University of Toronto
Maggie Man, Translator
Mae-Yu Tan, Assistant Secretary, Governing Council
The Student

Trial Division – s.B.i.1(d) of Code – plagiarism – course work copied from textbook and online sources – Student discharged his representation after commencement of the hearing – representative withdraws representation – Student’s defence was that a T.A. told him it was appropriate to copy and that he was not informed about plagiarism – finding of guilt – wilful ignorance of the Student – lack of remorse, evasiveness, and experience of the Student make a two year suspension less effective – grade assignment of zero for course; three year suspension; four year transcript notation; denial of “utoronto” email privileges; and a report to the Provost.

The Student was charged under section B.i.1(d) of the Code, and, alternatively, section B.i.3(b) of the Code. The charges related to allegations that the Student knowingly submitted a plagiarized assignment in one course. The Student plead not guilty to the charges. After the hearing commenced the Student indicated that he wished to discharge his representation on the grounds that the representative from Downtown Legal Services “was not asking the questions I told him to”. The representative from Downtown Legal Services withdrew his representation. The panel found the Student guilty of plagiarism. The Panel noted that the Student was an experienced Student and that his defence that a TA had told him that it was appropriate to copy and that he was not informed about plagiarism “constitutes a state bordering on wilful ignorance.” The Panel noted the Student’s lack of remorse, pattern of evasiveness, and the fact that the Student already possessed a Bachelor’s degree, which would make the deterrence value of a two year suspension less effective. The Panel ordered: 1) a grade of zero in the course, 2) a three year suspension, 3) a 4 year transcript notation, 4) a denial of privileges (ie. the use of “utoronto” as the Student’s email address), and 5) a report to the Provost