Process and Procedures
What happens if I’m accused of an offence under the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters?
In this section, we’ll provide a very general overview of what can happen when you are charged with an alleged offence under the Code. Initially, your case will be the responsibility of your division and we would refer you to the list of divisional contacts.
We recognize that the academic integrity process may cause students stress and concern, and therefore encourage students to meet with a registrar or academic advisor if they are suspected of an academic offence. If your well-being is impacted, please visit U of T’s Mental Health website to see the range of supports available to you as a student. Or for immediate support, use U of T Telus Health Student Support (formerly known as My SSP) (with free counselling available in over 140 languages, 24 hours a day). Reach out if you need help or are struggling– there is lots of support available.
Level I – The Instructor
If your instructor has reasonable grounds to believe that you have committed an academic offence, the instructor should inform you immediately and provide you with an opportunity to discuss the matter. Nothing that you say in such a discussion may be used or receivable in evidence against you.
If, after this discussion, your instructor is satisfied that you did not commit an academic offence, you’ll be informed and no further action will be taken.
If, after this discussion, your instructor believes that you have committed an academic offence or if you do not attend the meeting or respond to your instructor’s invitation, then your instructor will make a report to the Department Chair or Dean.
Level 2 – The Department
Your Chair will notify you in writing that the offence has been reported to the Department and send you a copy of the Code. You will be provided with another opportunity to discuss the matter with the Chair and the instructor.
If the Chair, on the advice of the instructor, subsequently decides that no academic offence has been committed and no further action is required, you’ll be informed in writing and your work will be accepted for normal evaluation or you will be allowed to withdraw from the course if it is before the withdrawal date.
If during this discussion you admit the offence, the Chair can impose a sanction as listed above or, if appropriate, refer the matter to the Dean. You will be informed in writing of either the sanction or that the matter has been referred to the Dean.
If you are dissatisfied with the sanction that has been imposed by your Chair, you may refer the matter to the Provost’s Office for a further review. The Provost has delegated authority over the sanction consideration process to the Vice-Provost, Faculty and Academic Life. All requests for consideration of a sanction imposed by a Chair should be sent in an email providing details of the specific request and of the situation, to email@example.com.
Level 3 – The Faculty or Division
If you do not admit to the alleged offence, the Chair may refer the matter to the Dean. Again, you will be informed in writing and offered the chance for a discussion with the Dean or the Dean’s designate, your department Chair and the course instructor.
The Dean will lead the discussion and you will be entitled to seek advice or even to be accompanied by a lawyer at the meeting, although this is certainly not necessary. Students may consult Downtown Legal Services (DLS), the University’s legal clinic, for free, student-centred advice at any point in the academic integrity process. DLS has expertise in advising students on academic integrity cases, and welcomes inquiries from U of T students.
You are not obliged to make any statement or admission in the Dean’s meeting, but if you do, it can be used as evidence if the offence is referred to the Tribunal. The Dean will also describe the possible sanctions for the offence.
The Dean, on advice from your Chair and course instructor, may decide that no academic offence has been committed and no further action is required. You’ll be informed of this in writing and your work will be accepted for normal evaluation or you will be allowed to withdraw from the course if it is before the withdrawal date.
If you admit the alleged offence at this point, the Dean may impose the sanctions discussed above or the Dean may refer the matter to the Provost and request that charges be layed against you. Again, you will be informed in writing.
If you are dissatisfied with the sanction that has been imposed by your Dean, you may refer the matter to the Provost’s Office for consideration. The Provost has delegated authority over the sanction consideration process to the Vice-Provost, Faculty and Academic Life. All requests for consideration of a sanction imposed by a Dean should be sent in an email providing details of the specific request and of the situation, to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you do not admit the alleged offence, the Dean, in consultation with the course instructor and the Chair, may request that the Provost lay a charge against you. If the Provost agrees to lay the charge, the case will proceed to the Trial Division of the University Tribunal.
Level 4 – The Tribunal
Once charges have been laid, the matter is handled by the Office of Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances. Their website provides a detailed explanation of the process for the University Tribunal.