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JSU Cheating Scandal Prompts Accusations From Students

JSU Cheating Scandal Prevents Graduation and Prompts Accusations From Students

Jacksonville, AL – As JSU held their Spring graduation, several students were unable to attend due to a cheating scandal that has impacted a large group. One student, who requested to remain anonymous, reached out the the Calhoun Journal with this statement:

“I was supposed to be graduating today, 4/29/2023, along with others and could not due to this punishment. They [JSU Administration] have suspended me for a year the same week of graduation. Me along with many others are having our futures affected by this situation along with half of us having first offenses with this situation, but no warning or first offense punishment, was given. While others who have had multiple offenses in this school are still able to walk the campus.”

Several students contacted the Calhoun Journal to notify the public that there was a petition posted on change.org and is as follows:

“A group of Jacksonville State University students were either suspended for a year or dismissed from the university due to cheating in an online Intro physics class. The investigation was rushed, and evidence was obtained from a student who took screenshots of the group chat. During questioning, they were asked limited questions, intimidated, and judged on their character by the investigator. The punishment they received was too harsh for a first offense that violated the school’s code of conduct. Some students who were caught cheating got warnings and workshops, others were suspended or dismissed. Students who were set to graduate were not allowed to graduate, even though they had completed their coursework. The group believe that the punishment should be consistent with the code of conduct, which calls for failing the course and receiving zeroes for the first offense. They are not requesting no punishment, but they are asking for the punishment to be consistent and according to the student code of conduct for the whole class. They apologize for cheating but believe the punishment was too severe. They are starting a petition to be reinstated and hope the school recognizes the flawed process and excessive punishment.”

At the time of publishing the online petition had 100 signatures.

The Calhoun Journal also had the chance to speak to Dr. Christie Shelton, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs.  Dr. Shelton first wanted to explain that due to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) she was unable to discuss or disclose specifics of this investigation. She wanted to broadly address the process for investigations such as these, including the appeals process. In this situation the reported incident occurred in a classroom environment. Depending on the level of the potential infraction it can be handled by the Department Head or Dean. An example of this would be an accusation of plagiarism within a specific course.

When asked how many students were involved she was unable to give the exact number, but did explain that the investigation process is still ongoing for many, while some have completed the appeals process. There are procedural steps to be taken and students have the right to appeal a decision they disagree with. These steps are laid out in the JSU Student Handbook which is available online. Dr. Shelton also wanted to explain that she is not the only person involved. Mr. Terry Casey who is the Vice President for Student Affairs is also a part of the process. In this situation the large number involved did ensure this investigation was run through the Office of Community Standards and Student Ethics. The official purpose of that entity is listed below:

“The Code of Student Conduct is a way for the University to publicly expect all students (undergraduate, graduate, non-degree seeking, on campus or off campus) to maintain standards and respect for the University community.  The process outlined in the Code is designed to support students who may engage in misconduct through an educational and restorative methods.  The Office of Community Standards and Student Ethics upholds the general mission and goals of the institution while recognizing and respecting the rights, privileges and responsibilities of all JSU students.”

Dr. Shelton wanted to also stress that she tries to go into these investigations with no preconceived notions or bias. She wants to hear each situation should it come before her. She, as well as the JSU Administration, welcomes all students to exercise their rights and the appeals process set forth by the University.

 

JSU Cheating Scandal Prevents Graduation and Prompts Accusations From Students

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