4. Academic Integrity

4.1 University Policy

The University of Toronto places a strong emphasis on integrity in teaching and research. The University’s policies and procedures that deal with cases of cheating, plagiarism and other forms of academic misconduct, are designed to protect the integrity of the institution and to maintain a community where competition is fair. Allegations of an academic offence are dealt with formally and seriously, and penalties can be severe if it is determined a student or faculty member has committed an academic offence.

All of the policies and procedures surrounding academic misconduct are dealt with in the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters (non academic behaviour is governed by the Code of Student Conduct). The preamble of the Code of Behaviour states:

The concern of the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters is with the responsibilities of all parties to the integrity of the teaching and  learning  relationship. Honesty and fairness must inform this relationship, whose basis remains one of mutual respect for the aims of education and for those ethical principles which must characterize the pursuit and transmission of knowledge in the University.

What distinguishes the University from other centres of research is the central place which the relationship between teaching and learning holds. It is by virtue of this relationship that the University fulfills an essential part of its traditional mandate from society, and, indeed, from history: to be an expression of, and by so doing to encourage, a habit of mind which is discriminating at the same time as it remains curious, which is at once equitable and audacious, valuing openness, honesty and courtesy before any private interests.

This mandate is more than a mere pious hope. It represents a condition necessary for free enquiry, which is the University’s life blood. Its fulfillment depends upon the well being of that relationship whose parties define one another’s roles as teacher and student, based upon differences in expertise, knowledge and experience, though bonded by respect, by a common passion for truth and by mutual responsibility to those principles and ideals that continue to characterize the University.

This Code is concerned, then, with the responsibilities of faculty members and students, not as they belong to administrative or professional or social groups, but as they co-operate in all phases of the teaching and learning relationship.

Such co-operation is threatened when teacher or student forsakes respect for the other--and for others involved in learning--in favour of self-interest, when truth becomes a hostage of expediency. On behalf of teacher and student and in fulfillment of its own principles and ideals, the University has a responsibility to ensure that academic achievement is not obscured or undermined by cheating or misrepresentation, that the evaluative process meets the highest standards of fairness and honesty, and that malevolent or even mischievous disruption is not allowed to threaten the educational process.

These are areas in which teacher and student necessarily share a common interest as well as common responsibilities.


4.2 Academic Offences

Academic offences are defined in Section B.i.1 of the Code, and include:

  • Forgery - commonly forged documents include medical certificates, transcripts and diplomas.
  • Possessing or using unauthorized aids or using unauthorized assistance - an unauthorized aid is anything which is brought into a test or exam which is not specifically allowed, including notes, calculators, and cell phones; unauthorized assistance refers to assistance from another person, unless permission has been given to work in pairs or groups.
  • Personation - a student who writes a test or exam for another student, and a student who arranges for another student to write his/her test or exam, are committing personation.
  • Plagiarism - presenting material in essays, assignments, and exams as if it is one's own is plagiarism.
  • Submitting work for which credit has already been given, or is being sought, without the permission of the instructor.
  • Concocting references or data - making up references or data is referred to as concocting; common examples include citing references which are false, or using data altered to reach a desired conclusion.

UTSC students and faculty are responsible for ensuring the integrity of their work, and for understanding what constitutes an academic offence. Students can find help in avoiding academic offences in the UTSC Library, the Writing Centre, the English Language Development Centre, and the Academic Advising & Career Centre. International students will also find help in the International Student Centre.

All members of the University are expected to respect the rules associated with academic integrity and the values they protect. For more information, visit the Office of Academic Integrity at UTSC.