Fourty-six IU Dental School students have been formally reprimanded following an investigation into cheating at the Indiana University School of Dentistry, a staggering number that involves nearly half the second year class. Out of the forty-six, twenty-one have been disciplined by letter and permanent record, sixteen have been suspended, and nine expelled in the incident, recently exposed by a fellow student. University officials are still feeling the impact of the scandal, which involves illegally obtaining a computer password to gain access to test materials prior to the examination date, making it possible for cheaters to study from home. The incident occurred in February, but recently information on the scandal was released to the press. Since the incident, IU Dean Goldblatt has assured that measures have been taken to improve the security of the computer system.
Those disciplined may appeal, but IU guidelines specify that “Dishonesty of any kind with respect to examinations, course assignments, alteration of records, or illegal possession of examinations shall be considered cheating.” (1) Simply knowing that the cheating was taking place and not informing staff is grounds for reprimand, as it goes against IU core values. Other sources suggest this feather-ruffling incident is hardly an isolated case. According to USA Today, out of the 83% of students who use advanced technology like the internet, 87% allegedly plagiarise from the internet without proper citation. (2) Unfortunately, this trend is less likely to dissipate any time soon, as obtaining a term paper writer-for-hire is as easy as haunting one of the many online writer message boards and placing a help-wanted ad. Potential cheaters should remember, however, that quality in these cases is not guaranteed.
Many schools are now relying on the honor code to detect cheating among students, but one must wonder if this method of maintaining school integrity is enough to thwart the overwhelming number of cheaters. In the case of the IU Dental School scandal and its informant, the answer is clearly, “Yes.”
(1)Hermacinski, Jay. “Cheating Scandal Rocks IU School of Dentisty.” WISH-TV 8 May, 2007. Online.
(2) “School of Medicine Indiana University Student Handbook”, IU EDU . Online.
(3) Marklein, Mary Beth. “Students Aren’t Using Info Technology Responsibly.” USA Today 9 October, 2003. Online.