Case #632

DATE: November 10, 2011
PARTIES: University of Toronto v. Z.M.

Hearing Date(s): October 19, 2011

Panel Members:
Mr. Clifford Lax, Chair
Prof. Markus Bussmann, Faculty Member
Ms. Alice Kim, Student Member

Ms. Lily Harmer, Assistant Discipline Counsel for the University
Mr. Kenneth Raddatz, DLS for the Student

In Attendance:
Ms. Z.M., the Student
Prof. G. Scott Graham, Dean's Designate

Ms. Natalie Ramtahal, Coordinator, Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances

Trial Division – s. B.i.1(a) of Code – forged documents – falsified marks on a mid-term test – Agreed Statement of Facts – guilty plea – finding of guilt based on agreed statement of facts – Student proposed a two-year suspension with permission to resume classes after one year – Student submitted that a suspension of greater than two years would amount to an effective expulsion due to personal reasons – prior offence of similar nature – Panel stated that if Student was unable to resume, then she has only herself to blame – permission to attend classes while under suspension contravenes the Code – grade assignment of zero for course; three-year suspension; four-year notation on transcript or until graduation; report to Provost

Student charged under s. B.i.1(a) of the Code. The charge related to allegations that the Student falsified marks on her mid-term test. After receiving her test back, the Student falsely claimed that there appeared to be a typographical error and asked her professor to contact the TA. The Student then submitted her test, smudged and discoloured, to the TA, claiming that her lab partner spilled onto her papers. The TA did not believe that he was reviewing the same test, and the Student, after offering a variety of explanations, admitted at the meeting with the Dean’s Designate altering the marks. The Student pleaded guilty to the charge, and the Panel found the Student guilty under s. B.i.1(a). The Student submitted that she should be suspended for two-years with permission to attend classes after one year, provided that her marks would be withheld until the two year suspension had been completed. The Student also submitted that a suspension greater than two years would amount to an effective expulsion because she was to be married and in her culture, it was extremely unlikely that her husband would permit her to continue to be a student. The Panel stated that it was not convinced that the Student would be unable to complete her studies once the period of suspension has ended and that if the Student would be unable to resume because of external factors, she had only herself to blame. The Panel also stated that the language in the Code specifically required the Student to be suspended from any form of attendance. Therefore, a permission to attend classes while under suspension contravened the Code. In considering precedents, the Panel found M.S. (Case 542) and S.M. (Case 478), in which the student was suspended for three-years, to be applicable to this case. In both S.M. and this case, the sanction was aggravated by a prior academic offense of the same nature. The Student had previously been cautioned in writing for falsifying data in her lab report in another course. The Panel imposed a grade assignment of zero in the course; a three-year suspension; a four-year notation on transcript or until graduation, whichever was to occur first; and a report be issued to the Provost.