Isn’t it Ironic?

May 10, 2007 at 2:54 am Leave a comment

Okay so you have some students that cheated, but the kicker is that they were taking an ethics quiz! Just too funny.

Mays school disciplines 24 for cheating | The Bryan-College Station Eagle

Mays school disciplines 24 for cheating

Two
dozen Texas A&M seniors were disciplined for violating the Aggie
Code of Honor when they cheated last month on a business ethics class
quiz, university officials said Monday.

Mays Business School Dean Jerry Strawser said it appears some of the
business school students took quizzes for classmates who were not in
attendance the day the exam was given.

All 24 were given either Ds or Fs depending on the severity of the “ethical breach,” he added.

Those who flunked probably won’t be able to go through with
commencement ceremonies, he noted. There is an appeals process, but
A&M officials said that process can take up to three weeks. May
graduation ceremonies begin Thursday.

“Look at our entire student body at Mays Business School – such a
high percentage of our students do the right thing and are highly
ethical people,” the dean said Monday, expressing disappointment over
the students’ decisions. “Unfortunately, the actions of a small number
of people can impact a large number of people.”

About 4,800 undergraduate and graduate students attend the highly lauded school.

Students in the one-hour business ethics class were using hand-held
electronic devices connected to a class teleprompter to take a quiz
when the cheating reportedly took place, Strawser said. He declined to
elaborate on how the professor discovered the cheating, explaining that
he didn’t want to aid other students in taking advantage of the system.

Fifty-one students were investigated for possible cheating, but 27
were cleared because officials couldn’t find irrefutable proof – the
standard required – that they had cheated, Strawser said.

The students were broken into two groups: those who asked classmates
to take the quiz on their behalf and those who agreed to do so, he said.

“We thought both parties were equally guilty of violating the Aggie
honor code,” Strawser said, declining to say how many were in each
group.

More than 600 infractions have been reported since September 2004,
when the Aggie Honor System Office was created to provide a centralized
location to report academic violations.

Though the list hasn’t been updated since February, Director Matt
Fry estimated there have been about 180 incidences so far this academic
year. Like previous years, he said, most incidents are isolated.

Generally, all academic violations are reported to Fry, who then
discusses the facts of the case with the faculty member reporting the
cheating, he said.

About 75 percent of cases are handled between the student and
faculty member. The faculty member meets with the student, listens to
his or her story and then decides a punishment if one is warranted, Fry
said, noting that any disciplinary action is then reported to his
office.

The remaining 25 percent of cases are referred to the Aggie Honor
System Office for investigation, he said. In such cases, an Honor
Council consisting of faculty members and graduate and undergraduate
students reviews the allegation and determines if there is enough
evidence to move forward.

If enough evidence is found, another Honor Council panel is called
to preside over a hearing and determine what – if any – punishment is
needed, Fry said.

The Mays Business School incident was handled autonomously by the
professor, who met with each student and consulted with fellow business
school officials before deciding upon a punishment, Fry said.

Strawser has headed the Mays Business School since 2001. Although
there have been isolated incidents of cheating during his tenure, never
before has he seen such a widespread case, he said.

The college already stresses ethical behavior and the Aggie Code of
Honor in all its courses, Strawser said. Now it will use this incident
to help reinforce the weightiness of the issue and the repercussions
that can follow, he added.

Fry also stressed the importance of using the situation as a
learning tool. The director said his office tries to proactively
educate students about ethical decisions.

The Honor System Office makes presentations in various classes as
well as at Fish Camp. It also sets up information tables during New
Student Conferences and runs advertisements during finals – a
particularly stressful time – reminding students about the Aggie Code
of Honor.

“I’m definitely disappointed,” Fry said. “Hopefully, it’s something we can learn from.”

• Holly Huffman’s e-mail address is holly.huffman@theeagle.com.

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