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Resolution (Divisional/Tribunal)

Divisional Resolution

OSAI handles all allegations involving assignments where:

  • The assignment is worth more than 10%.
  • The assignment is worth 10% or less but either the student does not admit to committing an offence in the departmental resolution process or the Chair believes a greater penalty than a zero for the assignment is appropriate.

OSAI has established processes to ensure that cases are resolved as quickly and fairly as possible. When we receive an allegation:

  1. A GWR (grade withheld pending review) notation is put on the student’s transcript for the course in question until the matter is resolved. This prevents the student from withdrawing from the course and from graduating and is a signal to anyone who sees their record that a matter is under investigation at OSAI.
  2. An academic integrity officer (AIO) reviews and investigates the file. This investigation can take anywhere from a week to a few months, depending on current case load and the complexity of the specific case. The AIO may contact the instructor or Teaching Assistant with follow-up questions.
  3. OSAI notifies the student of the allegation via e-mail and invites him/her to a meeting with a Dean’s designate (DD), to discuss the situation. The student is strongly advised to speak with their College Registrar prior to the meeting. Instructors are invited to OSAI meetings, but are not required to attend unless their expertise is needed.
  4. The DD meets with the student and decides the outcome based on the following guidelines:
    1. If the student admits to the offence, a sanction will be imposed. This usually involves a grade penalty and an annotation on the student’s transcript. More serious offences can result in a period of suspension of up to one year.
    2. If the student admits to the offence, but the offence is egregious enough that the DD feels a one-year suspension is inadequate for the offence, the DD may choose to send the case forward to the Tribunal for resolution (see below).
    3. If the student does not admit to the offence, the DD decides whether to dismiss the case (usually due to insufficient evidence) or to send it forward to the Tribunal for resolution.
  5. OSAI notifies the student of the outcome via e-mail, copying the Chair, instructor, and college registrar. OSAI will arrange for the student’s final grade to be posted on ROSI.

Tribunal Resolution

Please visit the Office of Appeals, Discipline & Faculty Grievances (ADFG) for a detailed description of the Tribunal process.

The University Tribunal hears charges of alleged academic misconduct laid by the Provost against students and faculty after divisional procedures have been exhausted. The Provost’s designate for judicial matters is the Vice-Provost, Academic and Faculty Life.

The Dean’s designate (DD) may forward the case to the Vice-Provost for review with the recommendation that charges be laid and the case heard before the University Tribunal if:

  • the student does not admit to an academic offence, but the DD believes from the available information that such an offence has occurred; or
  • the student does admit to an academic offence, but the DD believes that the sanctions available at the divisional level do not provide a sufficient penalty for that offence.

After reviewing the allegation with the assistance of university discipline counsel, the Vice-Provost determines whether or not formal charges will be laid against the student.

If charges are laid, the case will proceed to a hearing of the University Tribunal, Trial Division, with a panel consisting of a University of Toronto student, a University of Toronto faculty member, and a Tribunal chair (a lawyer independent of the University). The University is represented by discipline counsel; most students also bring legal representation to these proceedings.

The Tribunal can make a determination of guilt based on the facts and evidence presented even if the student denies committing the offence. The Tribunal can also proceed in the absence of the student. In reaching a decision, the Tribunal relies on the civil standard of proof known as the balance of probabilities—i.e., does the evidence show that the offence was more likely than not to have occurred—rather than the higher criminal standard of guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Conviction requires a majority vote among the panel.

In addition to the sanctions available at the Divisional level, Tribunal sanctions include multiple-year suspensions and the recommendation to the president and Governing Council for expulsion or the revocation of a degree. Generally speaking, sanctions imposed by the Tribunal tend to be much more severe than sanctions imposed at the divisional level for the same offence.

The student or the Provost can appeal Tribunal decisions and appeals are heard by the Discipline Appeals Board.

Summaries of Tribunal decisions are also posted semi-annually by the Vice-Provost Students.

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