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Academic Offenses: Definitions

The University and its members have a responsibility to ensure that a climate which might encourage, or conditions which might enable, cheating, misrepresentation or unfairness not be tolerated. To this end, all must acknowledge that seeking credit or other advantages by fraud or misrepresentation, or seeking to disadvantage others by disruptive behaviour is unacceptable, as is any dishonesty or unfairness in dealing with the work or record of a student. (Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters, Section B)

The University of Toronto’s Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters is available in full on-line at:  http://www.governingcouncil.utoronto.ca/policies/behaveac.htm 

What constitutes an offence under the University of Toronto’s Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters?

It is an offence if a student knowingly;

  • forges or in any other way alters or falsifes any document or evidence required by the University, or utters, circulates or makes use of any such forged, altered or falsified document, whether the record be in print or electronic form;
  • uses or possesses an unauthorized aid or aids or obtain unauthorized assistance in any academic examination or term test or in connection with any other form of academic work;
  • personates another person, or to has another person personate, at any academic examination or term test or in connection with any other form of academic work;
  • represents as one’s own any idea or expression of an idea or work of another in any academic examination or term test or in connection with any other form of academic work, i.e. to commit plagiarism (for a more detailed account of plagiarism, see Appendix "A") ;
  • submits, without the knowledge and approval of the instructor to whom it is submitted, any academic work for which credit has previously been obtained or is being sought in another course or program of study in the University or elsewhere;
  • submits any academic work containing a purported statement of fact or reference to a source which has been concocted.

It is an offence if a faculty member knowingly;

  • approves any of the previously described offences;
  • evaluates an application for admission or transfer to a course or program of study by reference to any criterion that is not academically justified;
  • evaluates academic work by a student by reference to any criterion that does not relate to its merit, to the time within which it is to be submitted or to the manner in which it is to be performed.

It is an offence if a faculty member and student knowingly;

  • Forge or in any other way alter or falsify any academic record, or utter, circulate or make use of any such forged, altered or falsified record, whether the record be in print or electronic form.

What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism, as defined in the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters (Appendix A, Item p), is; The present sense of plagiarism is contained in the original (1621) meaning in English: "the wrongful appropriation and purloining, and publication as one’s own, of the ideas, or the expression of the ideas ... of another." This most common, and frequently most elusive of academic infractions is normally associated with student essays. Plagiarism can, however, also threaten the integrity of studio and seminar room, laboratory and lecture hall. Plagiarism is at once a perversion of originality and a denial of the interdependence and mutuality which are the heart of scholarship itself, and hence of the academic experience. Instructors should make clear what constitutes plagiarism within a particular discipline.

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