Multitude of Charges


FILE: Case #410 (2007-2008)
DATE: August 20, 2007
PARTIES: University of Toronto v. Mr. A.L.

Hearing Date(s): April 3, 2007

Members of the Panel:
John A. Keefe, the Chair
Melanie Woodin, Tribunal Faculty Member
Liang Yuan, Student panel member

Appearance:
Lily Harmer, Discipline Counsel of the University
The Student did not appear

Trial Division – s. B.i.1(b), s. B.i.1(d) and s. B.i.3(b) of the Code – plagiarism, unauthorized aids and cheating – two students enlisted to complete assignments – cheat sheets created by third party and used in exams – hearing not attended - Direction of Tribunal - reasonable notice of hearing - see Code and the Statutory Powers Procedures Act – allegations denied – evidence of witnesses credible – finding of guilt – duplicative charges dismissed - violations of University practices and procedures - manipulation of two students – conduct over several years and involving several courses – no evidence of extenuating circumstances - University’s submission on Penalty accepted – recommendation that the Student be expelled, as per s. C.ii.(b)(i) of Code; grade assignment of zero for eight courses; five-year suspension pending expulsion decision; and report to Provost

Student charged with 84 offences under s. B.i.1(b), s. B.i.1(d) and s. B.i.3(b) of the Code. The charges related to 9 courses in which the Student was alleged to have enlisted the aid of two female students to prepare 21 assignments, including course assignments, essays and exams, which the Student submitted as his own work. The Student was also alleged to have been in possession of, and copying from, text relevant to the subject matter of several exams in the courses at issue. The Student did not attend the hearing. The Panel considered the evidence submitted by the University and the Direction of the Tribunal, and found that the Student had received reasonable notice of the hearing in accordance with the Code and the Statutory Powers Procedures Act, and that it was appropriate to proceed in the Student’s absence. The University submitted that the female students attended the lectures on behalf of the Student, wrote his assignments or essays, and then allowed him to submit them, or submitted them for him, under his name. The Panel considered the affidavits and oral testimony of the two “friends” and e-mail exchanges between the Student and the “friends”. The Panel found that the email exchanges provided clear evidence that all the work for the assignments was done by the “friends” and not by the Student. The Panel found the two “friends” to be credible. The Panel also considered affidavit evidence from the course professors and instructors, the Chair of the department and the Manager of the Divisional Office of Student Academic Conduct. According to the University, the Student had denied the allegations and claimed that he had done all of the work for the courses himself although he might have obtained editing help for some assignments. At a Dean’s meeting regarding the allegations, the Student was unable to provide meaningful answers to questions concerning the content of the coursework. The Panel observed that some of the charges against the Student were duplicative because they alleged different offences for the same misconduct. The Panel found that a conviction should be entered on one count only relating to each event of misconduct with other charges being dismissed as duplicative. With respect to the first course, the Panel found that the evidence was inconclusive as to whether the Student used draft answers, prepared by Friend 1, as “cheat-sheets” on the exam. The Panel dismissed the six charges related to the first course. With respect to the second course, the Panel compared the research paper submitted by the Student and the documents tendered as exhibits to the affidavit of Friend 1 and found that it corroborated Friend 1’s evidence that she prepared the paper. The evidence of Friend 1 was that she also prepared the webpage related to the project without any assistance or input from the Student. The Panel found the Student guilty of two offences under s. B.i.1(b) and B.i.1(d) of the Code in connection with the course work, and two offences under B.i.1(d) of the Code in connection with the essay and the webpage. There were two term tests and a term paper at issue with respect to the third course. The Panel found that there was no clear and convincing evidence that the Student used draft answers, prepared by Friend 1, on the first test, and dismissed the charges associated with the test. The Panel found that the Student took a test booklet with answers pre-prepared by Friend 2 to a re-write of a second test and that he submitted a term paper prepared by Friend 2 as his own work. The Panel dismissed the charges in connection with the first term test and found the Student guilty of two offences under s. B.i.1(b) and s. B.i.3(b) of the Code in connection with the second term test, and one offences under B.i.1(d) in connection with the term paper. There were two course assignments and a term paper at issue with respect to the fourth course. The Panel found that the first assignment was prepared by Friend 1 and submitted on behalf of the Student, and that the second assignment and term paper were prepared by Friend 1 and submitted by the Student as his own work. The Panel found the Student guilty of three offences under s. B.i.1(d) of the Code in connection with the two assignments and the term paper. With respect to the fifth course, the Panel compared the book report submitted by the Student and the documents submitted as exhibits to the affidavit of Friend 1 and found that it corroborated her testimony that she prepared the report, with assistance from Friend 2, which was submitted by the Student as his own work. The Student was taking work from Friend 1 and Friend 2 at the same time. The Panel found the Student guilty of one offences under s. B.i.1(d) of the Code in connection with the book report. With regard to the sixth course, the Panel considered the evidence and testimony of Friend 2 and found that she prepared the answer for a test in advance of the test and that the Student copied the answer on to a cheat-sheet which he used while writing the test. The Panel found the Student guilty of one offences under s. B.i.3(b) of the Code in connection with the test. With regard to the seventh course, the Panel considered the evidence of Friend 2 and found that she did all the course work for an essay worth 100 per cent of the course grade and that she prepared the essay that was submitted by the Student as his own work. The Panel found the Student guilty of one offences under s. B.i.1(b) in connection with the course work and s. B.i.1(d) of the Code in connection with the essay. There was an essay and an exam at issue with respect to the eighth course. The Panel considered the evidence of Friend 2 and found that the essay was prepared by Friend 2 and submitted by the Student as his own work. The Panel found that the evidence was inconclusive as to whether the Student used draft answers, prepared by Friend 2, as “cheat-sheets” on the exam. The Panel found the Student guilty of one offences under s. B.i.1(d) of the Code in connection with the essay and dismissed the charges in connection with the exam. There was a term test and an essay at issues with respect to the ninth course. The Panel considered the evidence of Friend 2 and found that there was no clear evidence that the Student used draft answers, obtained by other students and edited by Friend 2, as a “cheat-sheet” on the test. The Panel found that the essay was prepared by Friend 2 and submitted by the Student as his own work. The Panel dismissed the charges in connection with the exam and found the Student guilty of one offences under s. B.i.1(d) of the Code in connection with the essay. The Panel considered the guidelines for determining appropriate sanction and found that the Student demonstrated a pattern of deliberate disregard for University’s rules of ethical conduct. The Student submitted work that was not authored by him, that was not his original work and that was entirely the work of others; there was evidence of cheating on tests and assignments; and there was a pattern of deliberate dishonest and manipulative conduct. The Panel found that the Student’s pattern of conduct involved violations of the University’s practices and procedures and the manipulation of the two students, and took place over several years and involved several courses. The Panel found no evidence of extenuating circumstances. No evidence was presented by the Student to rebut the evidence of the “friends”; he did not participate in the Tribunal process; he intentionally evaded service; he perpetuated his dishonesty when confronted with the allegations; and he showed no understanding of his wrongdoing. The Panel accepted the University’s submission on penalty and imposed a recommendation to the President, further to s. C.ii.(b)(i) of the Code, that the Student be expelled from the University; a grade of zero in the nine courses; a five-year suspension pending the expulsion decision; and that a report be issued to the Provost.