USenate passes cheating proposal

by Liz Bogut

I have not cheated on this examination.
Every University student will have to sign under this statement before any exam if administrators approve a proposal made Thursday by a University faculty committee.
The proposal, which includes several measures to curb academic dishonesty, was passed by the full University Senate, a student-faculty governing body. It would go into effect in 2001.
In addition to a statement during examinations, one of the measures would require students to sign a declaration promising not to cheat upon admission to the University.
“This proposal is aimed at cultivating a culture of academic integrity on this campus and, at the same time, discourage cheating,” said Tom Clayton, chairman of the Special Senate Committee on Student Academic Integrity.
Clayton said the recommendations provide the University with positive methods to prevent cheating.
“Academic integrity is essential. The University cannot survive without it,” Clayton said.
But one faculty member felt making students sign a declaration would imply students are dishonest from the beginning.
“It seems to me you should assume students are honest. I don’t see why we have to imply there is some suspicion about their academic integrity,” said chemistry professor Wayland Noland.
Judith Martin, chairwoman of the Educational Policy Committee, said the proposal makes a statement to students, faculty and staff members as to what the University is about.
“I would hope it would reinforce what we expect we are. If that’s what it is, what is wrong with it?” Martin asked.
Mike Sweeney, architecture faculty member, helped create the proposal.
Sweeney said the recommendations help protect innocent students and make it clear the University takes academic integrity seriously.
One student criticized the effectiveness of the proposal and said students will just see it as bureaucratic.
“This is not going to serve any purpose. I think it will make people think less of academic integrity,” said Michael Pawson, president of the Council of Graduate Students.
Another part of the proposal includes the creation of an Office of Academic Integrity. The office would provide students and faculty members with the opportunity to report cases of academic fraud.
Cheaters might face expulsion or documentation on their transcript.