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Archive for the ‘plagiarism’


second academic offence before graduation

Hi Aska,

I’m a 5th year student at UTM, planning to graduate in June this year. And just before this Fall semester ended one of my professors called me out for plagiarism on a final essay. (Note: The turnitin percentage was 14 percent, there were two short sentences on the paper she said were “too similar” on the essay and I began both with “x-author describes..[etc.]” aka citing the author not only before said sentence but also in the works cited list at the end.) Anyways, the problem is, If this goes through to the Academic Integrity office this would be my second time committing an offence. What can I expect? Will I get suspended just before I am about to graduate? Do you think what I did counts as an offence? The plagiarism guidelines the professor gave us defined plagiarism as “expressing someone else’s ideas as one’s own”, which I did not do. Please let me know what you think of this situation, what I can expect and what I should do. I am very stressed out about this. Much appreciated.


hey there,

tbh, you’re in a bit of a tricky situation considering the fact that this is your second offence. i’m not sure how they could have accused you of plagiarizing since you cited your sources and used quotations, but there must’ve been something serious that your instructor felt the need to address. i hope for you that it was all a huge misunderstanding!

you may already be familiar with this, but in u of t’s academic integrity codebook, there is a blurb on the topic of plagiarism which states:

“For offences involving plagiarism, depending on the amount of plagiarism contained in the work, whether or not accurate (or any) citations are provided or concocted, and whether or not any acknowledgment of the source material is provided, the Provost recommends a sanction ranging from reduction in the grade on the piece of academic work by one-half, to a final grade of zero or failure for the piece of work or zero for the course.”

however, the recommended sanctions for plagiarism will be different this time around because second time offenders will be punished more severely:

“According to Appendix”C” in The Code, where a student has previously been convicted under The Code and commits another offence, the recommended sanction shall be suspension for 2 years to expulsion from the University.”

in terms of what outcome to expect in your case, i can’t answer that. i can’t predict the outcome of your allegation not only because i don’t have enough information, but because there are too many ways your situation could be handled.

the whole process depends on several varying elements such as: how much the assignment was worth, if you admit to committing the offence, and if you admit guilt. it could go all the way to expulsion, but it could also result in the department chair not finding an offence was committed, resulting in no further action.

do you see what i’m getting at here? there are simply too many variables to consider.

you should know by now that the university takes these issues very seriously, so we can only trust that the admin will carefully review your records, look at your assignment and come to a just decision.

if you are suspended right before graduation, there isn’t much to do except try to appeal the decision or wait out your suspension. sorry to end on this disappointing note, but hey, lets hope that no further action will be taken!

bottom line, keep in contact with your registrar’s office since they will be able to help you with your case!

anyways, i’m rooting for you and hope that this issue will be resolved swiftly and in your favour!

peace and love,





you have to do the thing


In the previous fall semester (2015) I was accused of an academic offence in the final paper of a course, which I think must have had to do with incorrect citations as I know I didn’t copy or plagiarize someone else’s work. This was the first time I’ve been accused of academic misconduct in 3 years at UTSC. I was advised at the time to speak to the Academic Integrity office and proceed from there, but my dad was in the hospital battling cancer and I didn’t want to put any further stress on my family who was going through a very tough time. He has now recovered after a lengthy battle and I plan on discussing my situation with the Academic Integrity office in September.

However, I’m worried that if they do find me guilty of a misconduct, I’ll be suspended for a year due to an academic suspension as I was on academic probation at the time of the accusation. I ended up finishing the fall semester, and then the winter semester and bumping up my CGPA to 1.67, which then made me think: should I continue to take classes to further bump
up my GPA to avoid suspension, THEN go discuss it with the integrity office (as they will then open the investigation)? Or is that not going to make a difference? I only have a year left before I can graduate, and I really don’t want a year long suspension to put a hold on things right now. I know if I finish this upcoming semester and do well in my classes, my CGPA will be high enough so that if I do end up getting a 0 (for my accusation in the course from a year prior), I won’t risk being put on academic suspension as my CGPA will be high enough to overcome the issue.

Best regards,


hey there,

i don’t know if i’m really understanding the situation. as far as i can tell, you’re asking about when the best time would be to speak with the academic integrity office, but as far as i know, you don’t get a choice with this kind of thing. if there is an investigation into a possible academic offence, you will be summoned to a meeting. they will let you know where and when they’d like to meet.

i’m a little confused since you said the offence was in 2015 and we’re now halfway through 2016 – did they never contact you for a meeting? did you agree to speak with them later so you could focus on being with your family? whatever the case may be, i think it’s important that you honour whatever agreement you have with the academic integrity office. keep an eye on your e-mail so that you will know if they request a meeting with you. if you agreed to connect with them at a later time, honour that.

if you didn’t establish any fixed meeting time with them, then it might be a good idea to touch base again. before you do so, though, here’s what i recommend:

make time to speak with an academic adviser so that you’re fully prepared and ready for the meeting. obviously, you can’t go wrong by telling the truth, but an academic adviser can tell you what to expect and also answer any questions that you may have. when you’re in this situation, it’s something i highly, highly recommend.

i can’t fault you for trying to do as well as you can in the summer so that this possible offence has the smallest possible impact on you. that being said, you shouldn’t try to avoid the offence because you’re afraid of what it will do to your marks. seek out help, definitely. but do not ignore the situation.




aska NEUTRALIZES that intimidating legal jargon

Hey there! So I hate to say it but I’ve been accused or charged with plagerism. I use Writecheck so I know it was only 8% of my paper that had a similarity. I just forgot to edit this one portion of my essay. This is my first real problem at u of t.. Can you please tell me what happens after the prof has sent in his report. Thanks


hey there,

assuming you’re at the downtown campus, the procedure follows section C.i.(a) Divisional Procedures (page 4) of the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters. after the instructor makes a report, the dean/department chair will have a meeting with you, and then will either impose a sanction or not.

i know legal language can make you feel a bit like this, but if you’re in this position, i’d highly recommend reading all of section C.i.(a) of the Code, because it explains exactly what happens in every step of the process, and that can actually be really comforting and helpful, if you peel back the intimidating jargon.




darth vader voice: do your exams

If I get suspended for academic misconduct from April 4th 2014, what will happen to my other courses?? Will I be permitted to write my exams and finish those courses off?
-happily ever after


hey there,

ok, i couldn’t find a uoft document that confirms this, because i guess it’s not something the school thinks to clarify for some reason, but i checked with the omniscient beings who sometimes float through my workplace, and you are expected to finish off your courses this semester. if the suspension is effective april 4th, that just means you’re not allowed to register in summer courses.




ohai OSAI

Hi there,

I’m a struggling second year student and something came up with one of my courses that has to be dealt with OSAI. This has been affecting my outlook on university and all my other courses. It has been what occupies my brain all this time. It has been messing with my thoughts and my activities. I don’t want to say I’m depressed because I’m really to get to class but i feel like something triggers the though every time and it gets me really low. I just want to know if there’s any place or someone I could freely talk to about my position in campus. I’m at that stage in which I want to drop everything and leave although there’s only a month left of school. Pls help me out. I’ve been holding all my fears in and I’m really scared thanks


hey there,

alright friends, this is a PSA: you are always free to come HERE and talk about any and all thoughts you may be having about school. aska’s about as low-key as it gets on this campus, so if you ever feel like talking something out or just need to vent, and you really want to do it with someone who will be mostly useless but will link to some hilarious and appropriate gifs – you’re always welcome here. we can jive together in this super-rad internet space.

that said, i understand that this low-budget, virtual equivalent of a run-down cafe with a bossy barista might not always cut it, so let’s look at some other options.

first, i know it’s hard to have perspective on this, but you’ve got a lot of stuff weighing you down right now, and you shouldn’t discount how much better you will likely feel when you’re out and finally free in april. if you can, try and just hang in there for one more month; it’s not always gonna be as crappy as it is now (that goes for ALL OF YOU right now blubbering into your red bulls until 3 in the morning and crying about exams).

second, this thing with OSAI is not meant to be stressful. i know it doesn’t look that way, since it keeps being all: “MEETING WITH THE DEAN,” “ACADEMIC POLICY” and stuff (why can’t they just use nice words like “a lil pow-wow with the guy in the tall chair” and “some stuff we wrote down so that the stuff you write is hella rad”?), but really, this isn’t supposed to be a horrible punishment. in fact, here is a quote from the OSAI website itself: “Remember that this meeting is not meant to be an interrogation. Under the Code, it is an opportunity for the Faculty of Arts & Science to present its concerns to you and to provide you with the opportunity to respond. If you are honest and straightforward about what has occurred, then it is reasonable to expect that the meeting will proceed very smoothly.”

they want everything to go well, just like you. honesty is your friend; there’s nothing more you can do. also, you’re not a terrible person. you just made a mistake, whether intentional or not, and all you are expected to do now is talk openly and honestly about it. try and remember that.

finally, if you’re still feeling really nervous or down or upset about this or school in general, you can always talk to your college registrar’s office. if you think you should speak to a counsellor, you can do that with caps. if you’d rather speak with someone online, that’s an option too. and don’t be nervous about those options, either: maybe they’ll be useful, maybe not, but you need to take your feelings seriously and give yourself a chance if you think you need it. however, if you just need someone to talk to and would rather it not be as official/uoft-associated, why not give this letter-writing website a shot?

best of luck,



if your pants are on fire (i.e. being accused of plagiarism).

Hey aska,

I was wondering, what are the likely outcomes for a case where the assignment worth less than 10% has been deemed plagiarized by the instructor? I understand that there is a mark of 0% or they’ll take it to the dean, but is there anyway to prove my innocence without having to go through such a process? Like I honestly haven’t plagiarized and I feel like Uoft is the government where they make false cases against you just to trap you in life. This is so unjust, but their authority is much greater than my word. How do I escape these lies when I haven’t, 100% not, plagiarized or at least with no intention to at all? In what case will this accusation (false) appear on my transcript? What will the discussion with the instructor consist of? How can I prove my innocence without going through the scary process with the dean?


From one frustrated student who feels like uoft is out to get me!


hey there,

i get that you ‘honestly haven’t plagiarized,’ and i feel for you, i do, but you gotta understand i don’t know you personally. i don’t know if you plagiarized. same goes for your instructor/the dean; as far as they know, you could be pulling a NASTY TRICK. i mean, don’t get me wrong, you seem pretty cool. i’m sure you’re an A+ guy who would never cheat, but like, there’s no way of knowing that for sure. that means that some kind of formal process has to be followed by your instructor, and that process is outlined in the code of behaviour on academic matters.

any instance of plagiarism will only go to the dean or a formal hearing if it’s not resolved at a less formal level – and with such a small assignment, i’m sure it can be. according to the code, the first step is just that you discuss the offence with your instructor (that’s on page 4 if you wanna take a look at it). so before you do anything else, go to your instructor, ask them what offence specifically they think you’ve committed (improper citation, etc.), and then you have a chance to explain yourself to them.

keep in mind that although you’re almost certainly not a bad person and maybe you didn’t intend to plagiarize, it could have happened accidentally. there are a whole bunch of offences listed in the code, and maybe you committed one without knowing it. so listen carefully when your instructor explains why they think you plagiarized. if it turns out you did, just admit to it – the earlier on you do, the less severe the punishment.

if however, your instructor really has just made a mistake, everything should be fine at that point. if not, they have to take it to the department chair/dean, but as long as you’re honest and explain your situation fully with your instructor, there should be no problem.

good luck!



citing and sensibility

I have a question.

I’m a second year student and was charged with Academic Dishonestly last year, as a friend of mine and I were working on an assignment together and we had the same paper, except in our own words. I was charged and did not pass the course, as they took off the marks for the full assignment.

This year, I took a sociology course and for my “make-up” tutorial assignments, I did not cite the quotes that I had taken off the Internet. I was so sure that I could only put arguments into the paper and submit it.

I am now under review for plagiarism.

Do you think I will get suspended from school for a period of a year or two?


I have an answer.

Well no. First, I have a question. How could you not cite your quotes?

I mean really.

But whatever. What’s done is done, and well, considering your past… yeah, I do think you might end up with a suspension. The university takes academic misconducts very, very seriously, and the fact that you’ve already been to OSAI once before doesn’t help your situation in the least. You should probably head over to your registrar’s office as soon as possible so they can lay down how grave this situation is to you, but honestly, harsh as this may be, you probably will face some sort of punishment.

For now, I recommend just putting the matter aside since you’re already under review and can’t really do anything about it. Just focus on your other classes and those assignments because a few good grades are really going to help if this class with the plagiarism goes south for you.



off with your head!

i really have some trouble. i written one of the computer since assignment by myself. but today, the prof told me, there is someone’s code same as me. i’m wondring, if the prof think i am the one who plagiarized, and give me a record in my transicript. will that be a big problem?what is the biggest problem if i had a bad record. and will that record be canncelled after few years?



travel back in time; tutor past self; gamble on world cup

After clearing academic probation with hard work, will the stain of being placed
on academic probation permanently stained on my transcript completely change and
restrict my chances of getting into professional schools such as Law, Medicine,
Pharmacy, et al.? (more…)


woo-hoo transcripts!

Hi aska! This has been like my 1 000 000 000th question on here lol…I have a question regarding transcripts and things…you know how we can order one for a fee of $10…what exactly is the point of that? is it not the same as if we just printed it off ourselves? I think it would be….Do we get a transcript mailed to us or something at the end of the academic year? (more…)

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