Submitted to U of T

FILE: Case #491 (2008-2009)
DATE: November 5, 2008
PARTIES: University of Toronto v. Student

Hearing Date(s): October 30, 2008

Panel Members:
Ronald G. Slaght, Q.C., Chair
Graham Trope, Faculty Panel Member
Melany Bleue, Student Panel Member

Robert Centa, Counsel for the University
Zak Muscovitch, Counsel for the Student

Trial Division – s. B.i.3(a) of Code – forged academic records – documents submitted for Post Admission Transfer Credits – Agreed Statement of Facts – guilty plea – contested hearing on sanction – depression and anxiety triggered by class participation – belief that demands of required course could not be met – mental or physical disabilities not causative of conduct – falsified transcript in respect of two courses was in nature of a fabricated degree or University transcript – planned and deliberate offence – circumstances permitted withdrawal from plan – third party involvement – continued deceptions – University’s submission on penalty accepted – recommendation that the Student be expelled as per s. C.ii.(b)(i) of Code; and permanent notation on academic record

The Student was charged with three offences under s. B.i.1(a) and alternatively, with three offences under s. B.i.3(b) and one offence under s. B.i.3(a) of the Code. The charges concerned allegations that the Student had forged and falsified three documents which she submitted in an application to obtain Post Admission Transfer Credits. The matter proceeded on a plea of guilty and a contested hearing on sanction. The Panel accepted the guilty plea based on the Agreed Statement of Facts. The Student claimed that she created the false documents with the assistance of her friend and that no money changed hands. The Student claimed that she had suffered symptoms of depression and anxiety that were triggered by the requirements of class participation. She supported her claim with letters from health practitioners. The Student claimed that the course requirements in one of the courses for which she sought a post admission transfer credit was too heavy for her and that she believed that she could not meet the demands of the course. The course was a requirement for the Student’s degree. The Panel found that at the material time when the false documents were created, the Student was physically and mentally well and that any mental or physical disabilities were not causative of her conduct but rather a reason for it. The Panel considered the planned and deliberate nature of the offence, the circumstances which had permitted the Student to have withdrawn from her plan at any time, the Student’s involvement of a third party, and her continued deceptions when first confronted with the allegations, and found that the University’s recommendation of expulsion should be accepted. The Panel found that while the falsified transcript was in respect of two courses and not an entire academic record, the effect of the Student’s actions was in the nature of a fabricated degree or University transcript. It was designed to accomplish the same purpose of obtaining a degree that otherwise would not be obtained. The Panel recommended to the President, further to s. C.ii.(b)(i) of the Code, that the Student be expelled from the University; and that a permanent notation of the expulsion be recorded on her academic record and transcript.