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I think I’m in trouble: now what?

The most important thing you can do is:


The Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters specifies the steps to be followed for any allegation of academic misconduct.

You will have an opportunity to meet with your instructor to discuss the matter. If your instructor believes that an offence has occurred, s/he is required to forward the matter to the department Chair (or Chair’s designate). Your instructor is not authorized to impose a penalty.

The Chair can resolve the allegation if the assignment is worth 10% or less if you admit to the offence, with a maximum penalty of a grade of zero for the assignment. Otherwise, the Chair may refer the matter to the Dean for resolution. However, the Chair has the right to forward the matter to the Dean for resolution if s/he chooses to do so (for example, if it is not your first offence the Chair will normally forward it).

If the matter is forwarded to the Dean’s office (OSAI), you will be invited to a meeting with a Dean’s designate (DD) to discuss the matter. If you admit to committing the offence, the DD may assign a penalty. Penalties vary, and section C.i.(b) of the Code lists the options that are available. If you do not admit to the offence, or the offence is serious enough that the DD does not feel that the sanctions available to him/her are sufficient, then he/she may choose to forward your case to the Vice Provost with the recommendation that your case be heard by the University’s Tribunal.

For more information on the Tribunal process, including copies of past case decisions of the Tribunal, please consult the website of the Office of Appeals, Discipline & Faculty Grievances (ADFG).

Things to note:

  • You may not drop the course involved in the allegation while it is under investigation or after a sanction has been imposed. If you do drop the course, you will be reinstated and be responsible for any work missed. Your academic record will normally show a GWR (grade withheld pending review) for the course until the matter is resolved.
  • If the course in question is designated as CR/NCR or EXT, you may lose this option if sanctioned for an academic offence.
  • All correspondence will be e-mailed to your utoronto.ca address so make sure you check it regularly.
  • If the alleged misconduct happened at a Faculty exam, it will be reported directly to the Dean/OSAI.
  • If you do not respond to an invitation to meet your instructor or the Dean’s designate, or you fail to show up at your meeting, your case will be forwarded to the next higher level.
  • According to section C.I.(a).6, you are entitled to seek advice and/or be accompanied by counsel at your meeting with the Dean's designate. Counsel can be anyone you wish. Please ask your College Registrar about your options. If you decide to bring counsel, please let OSAI know in advance of your meeting.

Tips for Dealing with an Allegation of Academic Misconduct

  • Speak with your College Registrar before the meeting. S/he can let you know what to expect and help you prepare for your meeting. You may feel embarrassed, angry, or frustrated at times during the process, so it’s best to talk these feelings out with your Registrar or another counselor before your meeting with the Dean’s designate.
  • Respond promptly to invitations to meet to discuss the situation. A prompt response shows that you recognize the importance of the meeting and acknowledge the seriousness of the situation. Delaying the meeting will not make the problem disappear!
  • Be honest. If you have committed an offence, you will likely have to face consequences, but your willingness to take responsibility reflects well on you. This can have a positive impact on the outcome of your situation. Being untruthful, on the other hand, could delay resolution and result in additional allegations of misconduct (such as misrepresentation).
  • Come prepared. If you plan to explain to your instructor or the Dean’s designate that you are/were experiencing a particularly challenging time in your life (due to personal issues, illnesses, family difficulties, etc.), please ensure you provide original documentation to support your explanation. Note that circumstances may explain your actions but they will not be accepted as an excuse.

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