• academic offense,  UTM

    how do you plead?

    I am a first year student in the Life Sciences Program and I am currently taking STA215H5 in summer school at UTM.
    We just had a term test (worth 20%) and I was caught with a formula on my hand – we had no authorized aids allowed other than a calculator. The instructor asked to speak to me after the test was over and I semi-admitted to it and she said that since a TA had seen me looking at my hand she was gonna have to report me (she said that this was evidence)
    I have never in my life done anything like this before and I’m not sure why I did it now I guess I was nervous?
    I tried reading some of the documents and procedures on the universities site but they co fused me even more. I plan on admitting guilty if I talk to the dean or anyone else. But I am really scared right now and I don’t know what to do or what will happen!?
    Please give me a little bit of information as to how this might proceed.



    so, i’d like to apologize for how long this response has taken me. i know that it’s a really stressful situation to be in, and i’m sure waiting for my response doesn’t exactly help.

    i’m not sure if you’ve been officially charged with an offense yet, and you didn’t mention being charged. of course, it’s been a while since you’ve first sent me this question, so things could’ve changed. i’m going to answer your question and give you advice as if you’ve been charged.

    according to utm’s academic integrity website, i think that what you described to me would have been a violation of section B.I.1(b) of u of t’s code of behavior on academic matters (“to use or possess an unauthorized aid or aids in any academic examination or term test or in connection to any other form of academic work”).

    if, after the meeting with your instructor, they think that you have committed an academic offense, they will forward the issue to the departmental chair or the vice-dean/dean. after that, there are a few places that the case could go. check out this link for a flow chart that explains the process in which academic offenses are handled. since you are planning on admitting that you committed the offense, a sanction will be imposed by the office of the dean.

    in terms of what sanction they may impose, the utm academic integrity website says that the range of consequences for this offense includes “a reduction of not less than twice the value of the exam, work, and test and/or an annotation on your academic transcript.”

    unfortunately, i don’t have tons of advice about academic offences or academic integrity, but i hoped that this helped a little. i would get in contact with someone from the office of the dean who’ll be able to give you more information. their contact info can be found here.

    dealing with academic integrity can be absolutely terrifying, but it’ll be ok. i wish you all the best.

    roland garros thumbs up GIF by Tennis Channel



  • academic offense,  other schools (boo!),  suspension,  UTM

    no secrets


    I started at the campus of UTM in 2010 and got to second year by 2014 – I
    know, not something I’m extremely proud of. In 2014, I got suspended for
    one whole calendar year for failing too many courses. Subsequently, I also
    got suspended for a plagiarism allegation for 3 and a half years. Right now
    is 2017 and my suspension is up in the summer of 2018.

    Would it be wiser for me to just ditch U of T and apply to another
    university with my high school grades? Or is that not allowed?

    Thank you!



    wow, sounds like you’ve had quite a wild ride. school ain’t easy, that’s for sure.

    if you choose to ditch U of T, you can’t apply to another university with just your high school grades. if you try applying for another university, you’ll need to show records from every previously attended institution, and if you refrain from disclosing information, there will be pretty severe consequences.

    your best bet, if you still want to pursue your degree, would be to wait out your suspension and continue on at U of T. we still want you if you want us too!

    hope everything works out for you!




  • academic offense

    no public shaming here, my friend

    Hi Aska,

    So i screwed up really badly- i commit and academic offense which is now reflected on my transcript (as a GWP). I recognize and understand the seriousness of this and completely accept responsibility. At the same time, i’m trying to turn my life around and want to apply to other UofT opportunities. My question is: can the registrar/prof/TA who are involved in my academic misconduct case reveal the reason for the GWP on my transcript? Can they share info on me behind the scenes? The position I’m applying for requires an application and transcript copy which obviously will show the GWP, so it’s not like i’m trying to hide the incident- i would just like to explain it myself, rather than have the faculty discuss it among themselves.

    Thanks so much

    P.S i’d really appreciate the lack of preaching about the wrongs of cheating. i’m not at all assuming that you’d do that, its just that, like i said, i understand what i did was wrong and came to aska to avoid the public shaming people have received on other advice sites- this has really affected me, as it should, and i just want to move forward



    first of all, i think what you’re referring to is a GWR (grade withheld pending review).

    regardless of what position you are applying to, if the university was contacted regarding your transcript, they technically, (according to the rules of FIPPA) cannot confirm if you even go to the school. the university abides by a pretty strict code of confidentiality so you don’t have to worry about this kind of information getting out.

    if your academic misconduct case results in a sanction, then your transcript might say something like “sanctioned for academic misconduct“, but again, the university still won’t be able to release any information on whether or not you attend the school or the reason of your sanction.

    aska strives to be a lot of things, but we do not strive to be preachy. we realize that sometimes people make mistakes, which sucks, but we want to help you get back up so you can learn from your mistakes.

    i’m not sure if proud is the right word to use here since i don’t want to sound patronizing, but i’m very glad/proud that you are willing to take full responsibility for your mistakes. sometimes the hardest part is admitting to your mistakes. it takes a big person to admit that.

    anyways, public shaming sucks.


    you’ll be okay in the end.


    wishing you all the best,

    peace and love,




  • academic offense,  plagiarism,  UTM

    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,




  • academic offense,  suspension

    suspension sequel: the petition RETURNS

    Hi, i don’t even know where to start but here i go… I’m a first year student at utsg i started school in september 2015 same year March 2015 i had my first born ( teen mom) as a young mom i just wanted to prove people wrong and went straight to school so that i can get an education even if a had a baby early. Its a bumpy ride as when my son was born he had major complication which had required surgeries and 3  months admitting  at sick kids and by the time we brought him home the amount of visits to paediatrics and sick kids are very over whelming. But i still went for it and went to school at utsg ( big mistake ) i took only 3 courses and failed all 3 i thought that by taking summer school i can pull my GPA up little did i know my register office has sent me a mail that went straight in to clutter box and i didn’t get that letter indicating lots of important things but when i read that letter it was too late because i have made an academic offence for plagiarism and went through so much that i can’t drop that course and i was not focusing in that course for me to pass it even with a 60% which clearly i know i will be on 1 year suspension. I really really don’t want to be on that suspension because i have no plans for me if i did honesty my mom would be so mad, i will lose subsidy i will loose osap i don’t know what to do. (I’m a single mom btw). I went to my register office and that they recommended a petition letter which i know its not a guaranteed thing but i just wanted to know will they grant me that
    opportunity to do so because of what I’ve been through during the year? i have all the documents of my child being sick, emergency visits almost all the document added it to 71 pages pf paper of his history do you think that my petition will go through and that i won’t be on suspension??? I’m really confused and so scared for my future ?? i know it isn’t a big deal but being a suspension means its the end of the world to me tbh !!!!!!!!!


    hey there,

    unfortunately, the golden nugget at the core of your question is something i can’t answer. will your petition go through? i don’t know. i’m not involved with petitions. all i have is anecdotal information, and that’s scant as best. the best thing you can do is keep in touch with your registrar’s office – and imagine that i am saying this emphatically, because i really mean it – about the status of your petition. ask them questions. they won’t be able to give you a 100%-for-sure answer either, but they can tell you how likely they think the petition is to go through.

    i will say that the more evidence you have, the better the chances of the petition being granted. if you have documentation verifying the existence of an extenuating circumstance, that’s great. the fact that your registrar’s office suggested the petition in the first place is a good sign. if your child was sick, that seems to me like a specific, extenuating circumstance that could merit a granted petition.

    that being said, i don’t have an answer for you. it may not go through. if it does happen that you are suspended, you will make it through that. and i can totally understand the feeling that a suspension is the end of the world; i don’t want to invalidate that feeling. it is scary. i can’t imagine how hard it must have been for you to juggle school and parenting, and it is admirable that you have been putting your child first while simultaneously handling this academic matter.

    however, if you are suspended, it’s only for a year. if, after that year, you still feel like coming back to school is the right decision for you, then you can do that, and you can be successful. again, your registrar’s office can help with that. the academic success centre, the family care office, your college writing centre, and the math aid centres can help with that.

    then again, in a year’s time, you may realize that school is not for you; maybe not right now, maybe not ever. you have to do what feels right, and you’re the only one who can make that decision. trust yourself. trust in yourself. don’t be afraid.

    best of luck with it.



  • academic offense,  plagiarism

    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.



  • academic offense,  suspension

    suspicion & suspension

    Hello there,

    So I was recently accused of academic misconduct and this has been my second offence. I went to speak with my college registrar and I was told that I could receive a 0 in the course as well as a suspension for 4 months. I am taking a co-op program in Jan plus an internship in the summer time. The course is a half-year course but you get full credit for it. I was told that I may get suspended for the summer period but I could still graduate in November as planned once my suspension is over. I am terribly scared still though, even though my advisor told me I wouldn’t get pulled from the courses I am taking in the winter semester. Is this the case? I do not want to miss out on this internship opportunity because I worked really hard to get it and my parents would be so disappointed, since I practically had to beg them to take on a new semester. I also wanted to apply to grad school but feel my chances might be hurt by this suspension. If my suspension ends up being a year (which I really hope it isn’t), what does that mean for my graduation? And would I have to re-enrol?

    Please help


    hey there,

    if your advisor told you you won’t get pulled from your winter courses, then you probably won’t be. top tip: don’t try and verify what advisors are saying with aska. if anything, go the other way around. sometimes i talk out of my a5$ a little bit (not intentionally, though. i always have the best of intentions. really). but you can rest easy that if you’re speaking with your registrar’s office, you’re in good hands; they know their stuff.

    if you want to apply to graduate school, i wouldn’t say it’s impossible with two academic offences, but it’s definitely something you would have to explain. most graduate programs give applicants the opportunity to explain outstanding circumstances (like a failed mark, lowered course load, suspension, late withdrawal, etc.) to the admissions committee. i’m not gonna lie, though: it’s probably going to impact your application in some way.

    if you were suspended for a year, you would have to complete the credits left in your degree when you came back from suspension – simple as that. if you were suspended for a year, you would have to re-register when you came back, but that’s a very simple process: just pop into your registrar’s office, fill out a form, pay 25 bucks and sign up for courses.

    i would recommend keeping in touch with your advisor about how this suspension might affect graduation, coming back, etc. they have the most complete idea of your situation and would be able to discuss the various possibilities of your future more effectively than you can.



  • academic offense,  late withdrawal

    LWD’ing an academic offence


    I was wondering about the Late Withdrawal policy with an academic offense. In summary, I have been alleged of an academic misconduct during an exam, but it was nothing too serious like it was not cheating or hidden notes. It was because of possession of an unauthorized aid which was a cellphone, but it is still an offense. But I did not look at my phone at all during the whole time. Anyways, I might have to go through the very complicated process of meeting the prof, chairman of the department, dean and so on. So, I was wondering when I could be able to drop the course and place a withdrawal?

    Specifically, if the dean decides to punish me by like a 30% mark reduction on the exam, and I want to drop the course. Is that allowed? I heard that once you are caught with academic offense in a course, you no longer have the privilege to ask for a LWD. I mean, I know I did something bad by not following the rules and I regret so much by not putting the phone in my bag. But that is really going to impact my course grade and destroy my GPA…

    I know that if the Dean/Chairman decides that it is not an offense to them, then I would be allowed to easily drop the course with LWD, but I don’t know how it will go and what will be my fate.

    Thank you for your time,

    I hope someone could help me out and I feel so depressed from what happened to me this week.


    hey there,

    you are not allowed to drop the course while the investigation of academic offence is happening – that includes late withdrawal. you are also not allowed to drop the course if they impose a sanction. unfortunately a 30% mark reduction is an example of a sanction, so no, you wouldn’t be able to LWD in that case.

    i know it’s tough to feel like a silly slip-up has cost you so much. no one likes to deal with an academic offence – literally no one. however, this is not the end of the academic road. i know it seems like a huge deal now, but you can recover from this (and so can your GPA).

    most importantly, there are people who can help you. i highly recommend you talk to your college registrar so that they can guide you through this process.

    best of luck with it,


  • academic offense

    integrity remedy

    I might have possibly taken a wee bit of extra time to finish after the invigilator said stop during my last exam- not above a minute. My counsellor at Accessibility Services wrote to inform me I’d be contacted about that by the Office of Academic Offences or some body that deals with them. One of my half-courses on ROSI reads reads GWR so I’m assuming that stands for Grade Withheld Pending Review and I’m assuming this is the course I’ve been written up for. I topped the previous assignment and have been doing alright in it so far. No one has contacted me yet. Will I lose some points on the exam? What’s going to happen to me?
    A Careworn Student Who Just Wants a Reprieve From All the Worrying Over the Holidays


    hey there,

    well, the holidays are over now. i hope you didn’t do too much worrying. if it helps, i got horrendously sick over the break, so i wasn’t having the jolliest of times either.

    the golden document related to academic integrity at this school is the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters – which sounds very official and scary but is actually quite accessible and reasonable if you take the time to read it.

    bear with me for a second. head over to page 4, section C.i.(a) Divisional Procedures of the Code. you’ll see that the first steps are meeting with the instructor and the dean, and then – at number 8 – they decide whether or not to impose a sanction.

    the sanctions are listed in the next section, C.i.(b) and start off with relatively minor sanctions like an oral/written reprimand, requiring that you resubmit the exam, or a grade of zero (which is a bit more severe).

    if this is your first offence, and you are honest during your meeting with the dean/whomever you meet with, the sanctions will likely not be too severe.

    that said, academic offences are serious business for an institution that grants degrees based on academic achievements, so i wouldn’t say there’s nothing to worry about. but don’t beat yourself up about it – both you and the office want to figure out something that’s fair for you.

    if you’re really nervous, you can make an appointment with your registrar to discuss the meeting and how you can expect it to go.

    all the best,