University of Toronto -- Department of Computer Science

What do you think about academic offences?

It's not only professors and deans who are angered by academic offences. Students, too, often express their unhappiness about offences. The known occurrence of offences devalues everyone's degrees in the long run, and in the short run an honest student competing with offenders sees her or his marks suffer. What can you do about it?

For a start, you need to be a little careful about thinking offences are happening. As we explain in How to avoid committing an offence, animated discussion with one's friends is an excellent way of learning, and it's possible to carry on such a discussion without offending. Some care is needed, of course, and sometimes students will drift into an offence without meaning to; there are ways of backing out of offending, with care.

So just because you see a knot of apparent collaborators solving an assignment at a computing site doesn't necessarily mean that there's an offence in progress. It's OK to talk.

But suppose there has been an offence. You may have an opinion on how it will be handled. Are enough resources being put into pursuing the case? Are the penalties appropriate? Do you have suggestions for improvements to the process?

Your comments on these issues and questions are welcome. They should best be addressed to the Dean of your faculty or Principal of your campus, with a copy to the Chair of the department concerned.

Here are the appropriate addresses for the situation we've concentrated on -- offences in Computer Science courses within the Faculty of Arts and Science:

Your letter goes to:

Faculty of Arts and Science
Sidney Smith Hall
University of Toronto
Toronto, Ontario M5S 1A1

with a copy to:

Department of Computer Science Science
10 King's College Road
University of Toronto
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3G4