General College’s reputation will not suffer, say officials

by Sarah McKenzie

Officials from the University’s General College say they doubt recent academic fraud allegations will tarnish the school’s reputation.
Jan Gangelhoff, a former University office manager, allegedly wrote several papers for men’s basketball players enrolled in General College courses. She displayed stacks of the essays at a news conference on March 23.
Although officials say the college has been victimized by the cheating scandal, General College Dean David Taylor said he is not overly distressed about the school’s image.
“I am more concerned about the reputation of the University as a whole,” Taylor said.
He said the college plans to comply with the outside investigation team but is confident that the school has been consistent with academic policies.
The General College was founded in 1932 to address the needs of students who take longer than four years to graduate, according to the college’s mission statement. Approximately 825 students are enrolled in the school annually.
Of all the student athletes on campus, 16 percent are enrolled in the General College.
In 1986, the Board of Regents voted to discontinue the college’s degree and certificate programs. Students currently enrolled in the college typically transfer to another school or college after three or four quarters of study.
Douglas Robertson, a General College professor in math and computing for the last 25 years, said the scandal will not adversely affect the college or significantly change current academic policies.
“It’s just one of those unfortunate things,” Robertson said, noting some of his best students have been athletes. “We have very clear policies and treat everyone the same way.”
Robertson said it is unfair to categorize all athletes enrolled in General College courses. “They are just like any other students,” he said.
Athletes in high-profile sports might be under more stress than the average student, but Robertson said that in his experience professors and advisors have been able to intervene before serious problems surface.
“We always have advisers who are concerned about the students,” he said, adding that the athletic department generally keeps close tabs on the students.