Volume 94, Issue 82

Tuesday, February 27, 2001


Admin proposes huge tuition hikes

Huron prez election still unofficial

USC Listening tour now Sinal's bag too

U of T law students on trial for bending truth

Original pranksters infuriate the 5-0


U of T law students on trial for bending truth

By Chris Lackner
Gazette Staff

Allegations that 30 first-year law students at The University of Toronto may have altered their grades on their summer job applications have left those in the academic community with some grave concerns.

Rumours of the first-year students misrepresenting their grades spread around campus in early February and were compounded by a related story in the Feb. 13 issue of Ultra Vires, the law school's student newspaper, according to Anna-Maria Di stasio, U of T student law society president.

Paul Gooch, U of T's vice-provost, said investigations of the 30 law students are still in the preliminary stages. "These are not disciplinary procedures. The investigations are to get at the facts. Only in the face of a full and factual report can the allegations be assessed."

The dean of the faculty of law, Ron Daniels, released a letter to the law school community last week which urged all first-year students who may have doctored their grades to withdraw their applications.

Di stasio said there could have been some inconsistencies in the job application grades which were not intentional, such as a student receiving a C+/B grade, but citing the B grade on their application form. "We can't speak at this time of one remedy for all 30 students accused. They need to be dealt with on an individual basis."

One of the key concerns to emerge from the current investigation is the future reputation of the law school in outside circles. "There is obviously a concern in terms of [law students] being painted with the same brush," she said.

Justin Saunders, university affairs commissioner of U of T's Student Administrative Council, said the SAC is communicating with the law society to ensure students' rights are protected. "We need to allow this investigation to proceed, but make sure it's not prohibitive to these students."

Ian Holloway, dean of Western's faculty of law, said Western provides verification of first-year grades if a law-firm wants to verify an application with the faculty, as well as providing academic context to potential employers. "Different lecturers have different assessment schemes," he said.

Despite Western's solid and reputable program, Holloway noted the inability of an institution to keep permanent tabs on its students. "Ultimately if someone is bound and determined to be dishonest, there's not a lot anyone can do to stop them.

"This whole situation could cause a lot of harm beyond the University of Toronto if the allegations are proven true," Holloway said. "It could increase public cynicism of lawyers in general."

Michael Rubinoff, president of Western's law student council, said people should refrain from passing judgment before the investigation is complete. "If the allegations are true, there is a concern that students outside of U of T could be at a competitive disadvantage."

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