Getting tough on cheaters

October 2, 2007, 8:54 pm

My college’s official policy on academic dishonesty (cheating, plagiarism, and the like) goes as follows. When a student is “convicted” of academic dishonesty on a course assignment and it is their first offense, then:

  • The student receives an automatic “0″ on the assignment.
  • The student’s final letter grade in the course is reduced by one full letter. (An earned B- becomes a C-, etc.)

And should the student ever commit academic dishonesty a second time, the student is expelled.

This policy is pretty typical of a lot of colleges. But I am beginning to think it doesn’t go far enough. Here’s what I am thinking ought to happen to a student caught in academic dishonesty:

  • The student gets a grade of “0″ on the assignment and a reduction of one letter on the final grade, as is currently the case.
  • The student is barred for one year from holding any officer position in any official college organization. If the student currently holds such a position, the student is to be removed from that position immediately.
  • The student is barred from membership in the Student Congress and any other form of student government for one year.
  • The student is barred for one year from being an admissions counselor, campus tour guide, or any other function in which they represent the college to the general public.
  • If the student is an athlete, the student is given a five-game suspension.
  • If the student is a member of a fraternity or sorority, then the student is banned from the fraternity or sorority for one full semester except for the use of study tables.

All students take their studies with varying degrees of seriousness at any given time, but when a student commits plagiarism or cheats, or deliberately allows it to happen, I think the gloves are off, and colleges need to start hitting these people where they live.

Additions? Comments? Accusations of draconianism?

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