Case 1312

DATE: December 7, 2021
PARTIES: University of Toronto v. H.L. ("the Student")

HEARING DATE: September 8, 2021, via Zoom

Panel Members:
Ms. Cheryl Woodin, Chair
Professor Ian Crandall, Faculty Panel Member
Mr. David Allens, Student Panel Member

Appearances:
Mr. Robert Centa, Assistant Discipline Counsel, Paliare Roland Rosenberg Rothstein LLP

Not in Attendance:
The Student

Hearing Secretary:
Ms. Krista Kennedy, Administrative Clerk & Hearing Secretary, Office of Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances

The Student was charged under s. B.i.1(e) of the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters, 1995 (the “Code”) on the basis that the Student knowingly submitted, without the knowledge and approval of the instructor to whom it was submitted, an essay for which credit had previously been obtained for the same course in a different term at the University.. The Student was also charged under s. B.i.1(d) of the Code on the basis that the Student knowingly represented as their own an idea or expression of an idea, and/or the work of another in an essay. In the alternative to each of these charges, the Student was charged under s. B.i.3(b) of the Code on the basis that the Student knowingly engaged in a form of cheating, academic dishonesty or misconduct, fraud or misrepresentation not otherwise described in the Code in order to obtain academic credit or other academic advantage of any kind.

The Student was not represented and did not attend the hearing. The Panel received an Agreed Statement of Facts (“ASF”) and a Joint Submission on Penalty (“JSP”). The Panel noted that the Student both accepted and requested that the hearing proceed in their absence and waived any entitlement to further notice in respect to the proceedings.

Regarding the charge laid under s. B.i.1(e) of the Code, the Panel noted that the ASF outlined that the Student enrolled in JAV152H1 (the “Course”) on two occasions. The ASF further outlined that the Student admitted that the essay they submitted for academic credit contained significant amount of text from an essay they submitted the first time they took the Course. Furthermore, the Student admitted that they did not ask the Professor who taught the Course for permission to resubmit an essay that was previously submitted for academic credit. The Panel also noted that the ASF outlined that at the Dean’s Designate meeting the Student admitted that they had resubmitted a prior essay for academic credit without the permission of the instructor. The Panel noted that the Student acknowledged that they signed the ASF freely and voluntarily, knowing the potential consequences, and did so with the advice of counsel or waived the right to counsel. Based on the Student’s admission and uncontested evidence, the Panel was satisfied that there was clear and convincing evidence that the Student had knowingly submitted an essay for which credit had previously been obtained. Given this finding, the University withdrew the charges under s. B.i.1(d) and s. B.i3(b) of the Code.

The Panel considered the JSP submitted jointly by the Student and the University. The Panel noted that the JSP outlined that the Student had two prior plagiarism offences. In determining sanction, the Panel noted that a JSP should only be rejected where to give effect to the submission would be contrary to the public interest or bring the administration of justice into disrepute. On the basis of the Panel’s consideration of the evidence and guidance from similar cases, the Panel noted that it was not concerned that the JSP would be contrary to the public interest or bring the administration of justice into disrepute since similar cases have resulted in similar penalties to the one that was jointly proposed by the parties. The Panel was satisfied that the proposed penalty achieves both general and specific deterrence, but also balances the objective of effective deterrence with the opportunity for rehabilitation and return to the University. Based on the forgoing, the Panel accepted the JSP. The Panel imposed the following sanctions: a final grade of zero in the course; a three-year suspension; a notation on transcript until graduation; and a report to the Provost for publication.