The Village View

Monday, December 04, 2006

Cheating at Columbia

Saw this on Jeff's blog:

Columbia University officials are lowering the boom on some graduate journalism students suspected of cheating on, of all things, an ethics exam.

The original New York Daily News article quotes the Vice Dean of the J - school as saying the affected students would have to "attend a special session of the class 'Critical Issues in Journalism' today - or fail." WHAT!!! Attend a session or fail? Any student caught cheating should fail, period.

I heard about a similar incident at Columbia Business School recently. There were witnesses to students cheating on an exam. My understanding is that there was strongly worded language, but no action taken place to discipline these students.

I'm worried what kind of message this lack of action on the part of the administrations (J & B schools) sends. I'm worried what lessons the students are learning from seeing a lack of consequences from their actions. Those who cheated and got away with it might be more likely to do it the next time. Those who didn't cheat must be wondering what the benefits of being honest are (especially if the classes involved are graded on the curve).

I obviously don't have all the facts on either incident (and I really hope I'm wrong) but if there is indeed cheating going on at Columbia and the administration is not disciplining it harshly, I'm concerned what that means for the university.