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Accusations of Academic Dishonesty

Discussion in 'Education Law, School System' started by DC77, Mar 12, 2020.

  1. DC77

    DC77 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I need some help/advice about an issue with college class and accusations being made. The first thing Monday morning the instructor announced she was disappointed in the entire class for academic dishonesty during online quizzes. She said names have been noted and the dean has been informed. That was all she said. No details were given as to what that even meant. It has created stress and paranoia, and has divided the class.

    One student that came in late did have a personal conversation with the instructor and it came out that the issue was students taking the quiz together.

    We are a small cohort in a specialized program. More than half the class took the quizzes together, BECAUSE on the first day of class, when discussing the syllabus and online quizzes we asked about using notes and taking quizzes together. This is allowed in some classes and it was not specified in the syllabus. She replied something to the effect of doing what we have to do. It was also brought up again after the first quiz and she was aware we were using notes and working together.

    None of us would purposefully cheat or be dishonest. We understood that using notes and working together was acceptable. Otherwise none of us would have ever taken the quizzes together.

    It didn’t seem to become an issue until after anonymous class evaluations. She is a difficult, condescending instructor that teaches by fear and intimidation. Several students gave her scathing reviews. She has had a week and a half since our last quiz and hasn’t said anything about it. It didn’t seem to become an issue until after evaluations.

    Now many of us are scared. There hasn’t been any transparency in process or allegations. We don’t know if our names are sitting on a list somewhere in the deans office, but we feel we’ve at least been marked. Her demeanor is different towards several of us.

    I have heard, she doesn’t have any solid proof. I would have liked to think if she thought that nearly the entire class was doing this, she would have a discussion with us. Maybe recognize any errors in communication and make an effort to move forward with concrete expectations. Several of us found it very unprofessional and reactive how she accused the entire class of cheating without even discussing what that meant. Am I wrong? She jumped to the worst conclusion without even having solid evidence. Just presumption without explanation.

    We’re stressed,paranoid, and divided. And apparently marked. At this point we are all just keeping our mouths shut. We don’t really know what else to do. Advice is appreciated.
     
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    In the USA everyone has the RIGHT to remain silent.

    No one is required to PROVE he/she didn't do the thing they're being accused of doing.

    One need not even respond when asked to enter a plea before the court of innocent or guilty.

    One can stand mute, thereby requiring the court to enter a not guilty plea.

    You should all continue keeping your pie holes closed.

    In the USA everyone is innocent until PROVEN guilty and due process has transpired before a court of law.

    Or, in your case, before a dean or board of student conduct.

    If anyone has collaborated in the past, now would be a great time to stop collaborating on any testing/quizzing instrument.
     
    DC77 likes this.
  3. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    Until the school takes some kind of action there is not much you can do. Is this a private college or state school? That will make some difference in what rights you have if the school takes adverse action against you by accusing you of cheating.
     
  4. DC77

    DC77 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    It is a community college... I don’t think she is going to take any procedural action. She would have to dismiss more than half of the class. That would affect her graduation rate. She is however treating several of us differently. She is the instructor as well as our advisor and director of the program. She holds a lot of power. Are there any things we can watch for to protect ourselves from retaliation?
     
  5. Disabled Vet

    Disabled Vet Active Member

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    So moving forward I would suggest doing stuff on your own. Since it possible she could be reading your post right now. You've given her more information as to people have done quiz in groups. Look on YouTube where a professor/school made a whole class retake a different final exam. So I would shut up.....
     
  6. hrforme

    hrforme Active Member

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    Hindsight is 20/20, but you've learned a lesson about "It didn’t seem to become an issue until after anonymous class evaluations. She is a difficult, condescending instructor that teaches by fear and intimidation. Several students gave her scathing reviews."

    Who sent out the class evaluations? While they may still have been anonymous, several "scathing" reviews would have been brought to her attention. Probably not smart to do this mid-cohort/class or program.
     
  7. DC77

    DC77 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Evaluations are something most schools do. I have other degrees from other schools but every school has always sent out evaluations after the class. This school does it at mid semester. It is supposed to be completely optional. She MADE us do them in class before we could leave. I’m pretty sure this would be unacceptable by school administration... I kept my eval neutral.
     
  8. PayrollHRGuy

    PayrollHRGuy Well-Known Member

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    You and others should have reported that to the school administration and still should.
     
    hrforme likes this.
  9. DC77

    DC77 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Moving forward, all quizzes will be done in class. I’m not worried about taking or retaking any of her quizzes. And we will keep our mouths shut. Yes, we have learned our lesson. We are more worried now about retaliation and our lack of ability to do anything about it out of fear... I highly doubt she would be on this forum.
     
  10. DC77

    DC77 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Forcing us to do the evals were purely for her numbers to look good. Much of the class has some sort of issue with her and her teaching style. She has a reputation. Cohorts before us warned us. But she has a powerful position as instructor and head of the program. We haven’t figured out yet how to go about bringing up concerns in a truly anonymous way.
     
  11. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    Instead of trying to "rat out" the instructor, it's a more wise move to learn how to work within her framework. That's how the world works...
     
    hrforme and shadowbunny like this.
  12. DC77

    DC77 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thanks all for the info! Everyone is pretty much keeping our mouths shut and just moving forward! Sounds like it’s in the past, at least for now.
     
  13. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Wise, very wise...


     

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