Report points to faculty members in wrongdoing

Erin Ghere

As members of the media scurried to and from press conferences, members of the Senate Consultative Committee met in a calm, closed-door meeting Friday afternoon to privately read the academic fraud report and discuss their reactions.
The report confirmed what many faculty members had suspected: massive cheating did occur within the men’s basketball program. Findings indicated that tutors wrote more than 400 papers for 18 men’s basketball players with Clem Haskins’ full knowledge.
In addition, five faculty members changed grades for student-athletes, according to the investigative report. But University President Mark Yudof said the preferential treatment is not an “epidemic” since it involved only five faculty members.
Those implicated in the report were not identified by name; Yudof said they will face discipline from their respective college deans.
Key findings of faculty involvement in the widespread academic fraud include:
ù In 1995, a professor awarded a student-athlete with a “B” on a late paper even though he was suspicious someone else wrote it.
ù An adviser changed a student-athlete’s grade base to pass-fail after the deadline had passed for a fall quarter course in 1997.
ù In March 1997, an instructor permitted a men’s basketball player to receive an “I” in the course to avoid jeopardizing the student-athlete’s eligibility.
The senate committee, an advisory group, met shortly before Yudof’s press conference. The committee supported Yudof’s handling of the investigation and resulting actions, said Fred Morrison, law professor and committee chairman.
The committee voted Nov. 11 to censure faculty members found to have “willingly” participated in the academic misconduct.
“I am absolutely, 1,000 percent in support of (Yudof), and I think what he has done is exactly what should be done,” said David Hamilton, Faculty Consultative Committee vice chairman.
Yudof went ahead with the policy changes recommended by the committee concerning athletics oversight.
For instance, McKinley Boston, vice president of student development and athletics, will now be concerned solely with student development issues such as housing- and community-leadership programs.
Bob Bruininks, executive vice president and provost, will be responsible for the management of the Athletic Academic Counseling Office, a unit no longer under the control of the athletics department.
Under the new provisions, coaches and faculty members can no longer communicate directly and must use academic counselors as intermediaries.
Yudof also announced that the Office of the General Counsel will assume responsibility for NCAA and Big Ten athletic compliance issues.
“It was a good report, and we’re glad (Yudof) has adopted the recommendations,” said Marvin Marshak, astronomy professor and committee member.
Faculty leaders retrospectively criticized the University athletics oversight committees for allowing former counselor Alonzo Newby to take so much responsibility for student-athlete academic issues.
Additionally, athletics officials will be restricted from handling sexual assault and misconduct complaints against athletes until the Faculty Consultative Committee makes final recommendations.

Erin Ghere covers faculty and state government and welcomes comments at [email protected]