Timeliness of Hearing

FILE: Case #495 (2008-2009)
DATE: information not available
PARTIES: University of Toronto v. Mr. T-F. O. K.

Hearing Date(s): May 26 and November 26, 2008

Panel Members:
Bernard Fishbein, Chair
Professor Kristina Dahlin, Faculty Member
Dr. Joan Saary, Student Panel Member

Ms. Lily Harmer, Assistant Discipline Counsel for the University
Mr. Max Shapiro, DLS Representative for Mr. K., the Student

Trial Division – s. B.i.1(a) of Code – plagiarism – course work in two courses – Agreed Statement of Facts – guilty plea with regard to one assignment – charges disputed with regard to another assignment – third party submitted copy of essay – explanation of circumstances not credible – finding of guilt – Joint Submission on Penalty – effective date of proposed sanction disputed – de facto greater suspension because of loss of work in full year courses – but for agreement of parties suspension of greater duration would have been imposed – delay in Tribunal process – prior academic offence – little remorse – academic misconduct not admitted until sentencing – impact of suspension would work to greater effect because of delay in Tribunal process – delay in Tribunal process not attributed to Student – suspension not to commence until the end of second term – grade assignment of zero for two courses; three-year suspension; four-year notation on transcript; and report to Provost

The Student was charged with two offences under s. B.i.1(a) and, alternatively, two offences under s. B.i.3(b) of the Code. The charges related to alleged acts of plagiarism with regard to two assignments, submitted in two courses, both of which contained unacknowledged verbatim or nearly verbatim text from another student’s paper. The Student pleaded guilty to the first allegation of plagiarism but disputed the charges with respect to the second assignment. The matter proceeded as an Agreed Statement of Facts. With respect to the first assignment, the Student admitted that he had copied passages from another student's paper which was posted on the course website. With respect to the charges in the second assignment, the Student submitted an essay which was virtually identical to an essay submitted by another student in the course. Upon investigation it was discovered that the other student in the course had resubmitted, with corrections, an essay which she had previously submitted in a summer course. The Student was also in the summer course with the other student. The other student confessed to altering her essay for the summer course and re-submitting it with the alterations in the course in question. The essay submitted by the Student contained the same errors as the original essay submitted by the other student in the summer course. The other student could not explain how the Student obtained a copy of her essay. The Student claimed that he had written the essay for the summer course initially but that his USB had gone missing from the computer lab and that it was irretrievable without the USB key. The Student claimed that he later discovered his draft of the essay on his sister’s laptop and he submitted it to fulfill the essay requirement in the course in question. The Manager of the UTM police testified that no report was filed regarding the purported missing USB key. Participants in the investigation process asserted that the Student’s previous explanation of events ran contrary to the Student’s evidence in chief. The reference material footnoted in the essay was not available from the Library where the Student asserted he had done the research nor did documents that the Student provided during the investigation match the footnotes or quotes contained in the essay. The library records at the University showed that the other student had borrowed the relevant books footnoted in the essay at the relevant time. The Panel found that the Student’s explanation was not credible. The Panel found that there was no evidence to support the Student’s claim that the other student had obtained a copy of his essay and submitted it as her work in both the summer course and later in the second course with some alterations. The Panel found that, even in absence of any direct evidence of how the Student had obtained the other student’s essay, on the balance of probabilities, the University had established that contrary to s. B.i.1(d) of the Code, the Student had knowingly represented as his own the work of another. Although the parties made a Joint Submission on Penalty, the effective date of the proposed three-year suspension was disputed. The University proposed that the date of suspension commence at the beginning of the next term. The Student opposed that proposal since it would have turned the three year suspension into a de facto greater suspension as he would have lost the work already completed in his full year courses. The Student claimed that if the Tribunal deliberations had concluded earlier he would not have enrolled in the full year courses and that the delay in the tribunal process made the impact of the penalty more severe. The Panel stated that but for the agreement of the parties, it would have imposed a longer suspension. It was not the Student’s first offence with respect to similar misconduct, he displayed little remorse or contrition over his academic misconduct and he resisted any admission of his academic misconduct until the sentencing portion. The Panel observed that, having accepted the agreed upon suspension, the actual impact of the suspension would work to an even greater effect because of the delay in the Tribunal process. The delay in the Tribunal process could not be attributed to the Student. The Panel accepted the Student’s position and ordered that the suspension not commence until the end of the second term. The Panel imposed a grade of zero for the two courses; a three-year suspension; a four-year notation on the Student’s academic record and transcript; and that a report be issued to the Provost.

FILE: Case #01-02-01 (2001-2002) *DAB
DATE: November 19, 2001
PARTIES: University of Toronto v. Mr. P. (Applicant, Respondent by cross-application)

Hearing Date(s): October 4, 2001

Board Members:
C. Anthony Keith, Q.C., Senior Chair

Gary E. Shortliffe, for Applicant
Lily I. Harmer, for Respondent

Discipline Appeals Board – application for extension of time to appeal - cross-application request that extension of time not operate as stay of Tribunal decision – notice of appeal not delivered within time provided – see E.5 of Code – understanding from Tribunal Secretary that legal representation should be secured before filing formal notice of appeal - exceptional circumstances required to enlarge time for appeal made before or after expiry of time provided - see s. E.5 of Code – no reference of exceptional circumstances in past decisions, Code or Code of Student Conduct - time limits not rendered mandatory by imperative language in Code – exceptional circumstances demonstrated – application not opposed by University provided conditions incorporated into order – acceptance of conditions - extension for the time of appeal granted with conditions - submissions on costs reserved to Chair of Appeal Tribunal

Application by the Student for an extension of time to bring his appeal from a Tribunal decision. The University brought a cross-application, pursuant to section E. 10 of the Code, requesting that any extension of time not operate as a stay of the decision of the Tribunal below. The Student claimed that while no formal notice of appeal was delivered to the secretary within the time provided by E.5 of the Code, he understood from his conversations with the then-Secretary of the Tribunal that he should proceed with his attempts to obtain legal representation and when he had secured that legal representation he should then file a formal notice. The issue before the Chair was whether or not the circumstances described by the Student would reasonably fall within the language of the Code and constitute “exceptional circumstances” so that the Chair could exercise his power under s. E.5 of the Code and enlarge the time for appeal upon application made either before or after the expiry of time provided. The Chair considered the Code of Student Conduct and previous Tribunal decisions found that the Code of Student Conduct did not contain the phrase “exceptional circumstances,” or any provision for the extension of time and that there were no previous decisions of the Tribunal addressing the issue. The Chair considered the general jurisprudence on the issue of administrative tribunals and extensions of time and found that the use of imperative language found the in Code did not by itself render time limits mandatory. The Chair considered the chronology of events and the submissions of the Student, and affidavit evidence which indicated his understanding of what was expected of him as a result of a conversation with an employee representing the University, and the fact that the University had not decided to controvert by cross-examination or filing additional material, and found that on the circumstances of the case alone, there were exceptional circumstances upon which to exercise the power under the enactment to enlarge the time for appeal. The University’s did not oppose the Student’s application provided that certain conditions were incorporated into the order granting an extension of time. The Chair considered the Student’s acquiescence to the conditions and ordered that an extension for the time of appeal be granted, conditional upon: the appeal of the Tribunal decision would not operate as a stay of that decision, pursuant to s. E.10 of the Code; the granting of leave to appeal would not operate so as to prevent the University from raising as an issue on the appeal any practical difficulties which may arise in terms of presenting the necessary witnesses to deal with any new hearing the appellant tribunal might see fit to order; and the parties were to abide by a strict timetable. The Chair ordered that any submissions as to costs of the hearing would be reserved to the Chair of the Appeal Tribunal.