DATE: October 2, 2014
PARTIES: University of Toronto v Z.G., M.S.
Hearing Date(s): July 18, 2014
Bernard Fishbein, Chair
Kathi Wilson, Faculty Member
Michael Dick, Student Member
Tina Lie, Assistant Discipline Counsel
Samuel Greene, DLS, for the Student
Lucy Gaspini, Manager, Academic Integrity and Affairs, University of Toronto Mississauga
Mircea Voda, Course Instructor
Yvette Ye, Undergraduate Counsellor
Christopher Lang, Director, Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances
Not in Attendance:
Student 1 (ZG)
Student 2 (MS)
Trial Division – s. B.i.1(c), s. B.i.1(b), S.B.ii.1(a)(ii), and s. B.i.3(b) of the Code – personation – unauthorized aid – Students not at hearing – related matters heard together – Dean’s Designate meeting – Admission of Guilt – finding of guilt – second offence – grade of zero in the course in question for MS; recommendation of expulsion; five year suspension; academic record notation
The Panel first addressed whether to proceed in the Students’ absence and whether to hear the matters together. Panel was satisfied that the Students had reasonable notice of the hearing and had been served, in accordance with the Rules of Practice and Procedure of the University Tribunal. The University did briefly make contact with each student. The Panel also ruled that if the matters proceed together as the allegations involved the same parties, witnesses, evidence, and transaction. The Panel ruled there would be no unfairness, prejudice, or complication hearing them together.
The charges related to a quiz that ZG allegedly took for MS. ZG was charged with personating a student contrary to s. B.i.1(c) and, in the alternative, aiding to provide unauthorized assistance contrary to s. B.i.1(a)(ii) of the Code. MS was charged with having another person personate her contrary to s. B.i.1(c), in the alternative, obtaining unauthorized assistance contrary to s. B.i.1(b), in the further alternative, academic misconduct not otherwise described in the Code contrary to s. B.i.3(b) of the Code.
The University called the instructor of the course to testify. He testified that he was waiting for MS to hand in her paper on the day of the quiz and, while he noticed her at the start of the quiz, he did not see her at the end of the quiz. GZ handed in a quiz claiming to be MS and did not have his student ID. GZ then claimed he was handing in MS’s quiz for her. The instructor recognized GZ as he had told MS not to sit near him on an earlier quiz as he suspected she was copying from him. The instructor compared the test handed in by GZ to an earlier test taken by MS and noticed different writing as well as notations that had not been taught in his class. The instructor was able to identify GZ who later enrolled in a class taught by the instructor.
A second witness was called who had taken notes during a meeting with MS and the Dean’s Designate. MS initially denied having cheated but eventually signed a formal Admission of Guilt admitting her offense under s. B.i.1(a)(i) of the Code.
The Panel found MS and GZ had violated s. B.i.1(c) of the Code and the University withdrew the alternative charge.
MS had a previous offence which had been settled at the departmental level. The University sought a recommendation of expulsion, a suspension of up to five years and, in MS’s case, a grade of zero in the course.
The Panel then considered the penalty factors from the Mr. C case, namely the character of the Students, likelihood of repetition, nature of the offence, detriment to the University, and the need for deterrence. The Panel considered like cases and found that expulsions have been ordered even for first time offenders and that when five-year suspensions were issued it was only in cases where remorse was expressed and the student participated in the process, not the scenario in this case.
The Panel recommended expulsion for both students, imposed a suspension of up to five years or until expulsion, whichever comes first, a notation be placed on their transcripts, and a grade of zero in the course in question for MS.