THE TORONTO STAR – Chris Spence loses appeal to keep PhD amid plagiarism findings

University of Toronto appeals tribunal says recommendation last June to cancel former TDSB director’s doctorate ‘was correct.’ Spence now intends to seek a judicial review of the decision, his lawyer says.

Five years after facing the first explosive allegations of plagiarism, Chris Spence has lost his fight to hold onto his PhD at the University of Toronto.

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THE LAWYER’S DAILY – LSUC benchers approve statement of principles, adopt access to justice measures

Ian Burns, The Lawyers Daily reporter, writes: “The law society has spent a lot of time and energy over the past few months dealing with the statement of principles but I don’t see how on the ground anything has changed,” he said. “Racialized lawyers are still being discriminated against. My frustration is I want to see the debate on how do we change it — you don’t change it by signing a piece of paper,” quoting Darryl Singer.

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ADVOCATE DAILY – LSUC should encourage discussion, real change on issue of diversity

“I would like to see more fulsome discussion with the profession where they [the law society] say ‘look, we know we have an issue. We’ve done this big, fancy report.’ The report has told us what everybody knew,” he says, adding that racism and discrimination in the legal profession were apparent before the report was released.

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OBITER DICTA – Presenting the New Alumni Support Program

OPSC: What message would you like to pass on to the students of Osgoode?

Singer: You may feel, as a law student, that you don’t know what you’re doing here in school. I felt like an imposter at Osgoode, and that’s not an uncommon feeling among law school students and lawyers. No matter who you’re comparing yourself to, everybody’s got some shit that they’re going through.

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THE TORONTO STAR – Chris Spence seeks new hearing on PhD plagiarism accusations

Darryl Singer told a University of Toronto appeal hearing the proceedings last June should never have taken place because neither Spence nor his lawyer participated.

At the very least, Singer said Thursday, a penalty should not have been imposed without giving Spence a chance to address the accusations.

“Nothing ought to have gone ahead on June 20. The entire matter should have been adjourned,” said Singer, adding there was no urgency and that the situation unfairly left Spence without the right to a proper defence.

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THE TORONTO STAR – Chris Spence fights to keep his PhD amid plagiarism findings

Spence’s notice of appeal argues the tribunal erred by failing to grant an adjournment when he was unable to attend the proceedings for medical reasons. As a result, Spence was “denied the opportunity to present a full defence,” says the notice.

It alleges potential bias on the part of the tribunal chair, a conflict of interest by the university’s law firm and concludes the penalty recommended “was excessive” and didn’t properly consider Spence’s circumstances or less severe options.

Spence, currently living in Chicago, is not required or expected to attend the Thursday appeal, his lawyer Darryl Singer said in an email.

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THE LAWYER’S DAILY – Law society faces pushback on diversity initiative, to host information session

Darryl Singer, of Singer Barristers Professional Corporation, has also been receiving calls about the statement of principles.

“First of all, I think it is unnecessary,” he explained. “As the owner of a law firm I am obligated in three different ways to ensure that I do not discriminate or harass in any way. I am obligated first and foremost as a licensee of the law society. I’m bound by the rules of professional conduct. I’m already bound not to discriminate and harass based on that. That applies to all lawyers, whether you’re a law firm owner or not. Number two, as a business owner it goes even further. I am also bound by the Employment Standards Act. I’m also bound by the Ontario Human Rights Code.”

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