Ex-TDSB director plans to fight plagiarism charges over thesis
The former director of the Toronto District School Board, who resigned amid plagiarism allegations, plans on fighting “academic dishonesty” charges that date back to when he was a graduate student at the University of Toronto.
Published Wednesday, June 11, 2014 7:59PM EDT
The former director of the Toronto District School Board, who resigned amid plagiarism allegations, plans on fighting academic charges that date back to when he was a graduate student at the University of Toronto.
Chris Spence's lawyer says the former head of the TDSB will ask the university to withdraw its charges of plagiarism based on a number of "procedural irregularities."
"The university took too long to process the matter," lawyer Selwyn Pieters told CP24 on Wednesday. As a result, the school did not have the permission to run Spence's 1996 doctoral thesis through the anti-plagiarism website turnitin.com.
"They are legal arguments that go to the fairness of the matter, and while they may be considered technicalities, they do have some weight," he said.
Spence’s thesis was titled "The Effects of Sport Participation on the Academic and Career Aspirations of Black Male Student Athletes in Toronto High Schools." Academic charges against Spence were filed by the university about two months after he had resigned from his position at the TDSB in January 2013.
According to the university, Spence handed in his thesis "knowing that it contained ideas that were not (his) own and which (he) did not properly attribute to the source of the ideas." The school says Spence’s doctoral thesis also contained "verbatim or nearly verbatim text from other sources."
But according to Selwyn, Spence did not "knowingly plagiarize" his thesis. "The offence calls for knowledge and Dr. Spence hasn’t admitted that he knowingly plagiarized any articles."
He says Spence will plead not guilty to the charges. A hearing is set to take place on July 15.
If Spence is found guilty, the university could strip him of his doctorate.
With files from CP24