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MAROONALERT MSU officials up the ante on campus security by about $3,000. READ pg. 4 GETDEFENSIVE The women’s soccer team proves defense is the best offense against TWU. READ pg. 9 wichitan ht e Wednesday October 26, 2011 your campus/your news Cheating is widespread problem BRITTNEY COTTINGHAM MANAGING EDITOR MSU students cheat. Records obtained by The Wichitan show how widespread it is across campus. Over the past three years: • 14 cases of plagiarism were confirmed in the Honors Program. • A nursing student was booted from the program after fellow students turned her in for cheating on a test. • A videotape captured a Marketing & Management Information Systems student using notes on an exam. • A radiologic sciences student was withdrawn from a class with a permanent grade of F and dismissed from the program for plagiarizing an assignment. These are only a few of the cheating 49% 91% 62% 15% incidents on record at MSU since 2008. The Wichitan obtained the cases from 2008 to present through state Open Record requests. All student names were redacted, keeping identities confidential. In one blatant case, a female student in the Associate of Applied Science (AAS) program wrote notes on her hand before a test. The department chair spotted the human crib sheet and escorted her to the restroom. There, she watched her wash the incriminating evidence from her skin. Afterward, the student was given a verbal warning and put on probation. Any further academic misconduct, the student was told, would result in her dismissal from the Radiologic Sciences program. The Radiology Department also utilized the plagiarism detector Turnitin, of 103 MSU students have cheated at least once while in college. This is compared to 57.4% out of 401 students in 2004. which checks originality on essays in percentage, to catch students in the act. One radiology student submitted a pathology report that had an overall similarity index of 76 percent. Upon further investigation by the department, it was determined that almost 100 percent of the submitted paper was made up of direct quotes from various sources. The student was given a grade of zero on the report. In Fall 2010, a radiologic sciences professor caught a male and female student taking an online test at the same time in Clark Student Center. The test was supposed to be completed individually. “No info was traded between us,” one student wrote in an email to the professor. “We both had our books so there was no need for that. To talk about being honest, I was invited to take the test today with a few other members.” The second student proclaimed her innocence by apologizing not only to the professor, but also to the entire radiology program staff. Both students were required to meet with the department chair. Even though the Blackboard test log showed they were taking the test at the same time, ultimately no punishment was given. “(Punishments) may depend on if the cheating is incidental or if somebody is a repeat offender,” said Dr. Alisa White, provost and vice president for academic affairs. White admits not every case fits neatly in the academic misconduct procedures listed in the MSU Student Handbook. She wants the current policy to be clearer, which is why this year, White has plans to ask the Academic Appeals Committee to review the policy and suggest changes. The only cheating sanction in the Finance, Economics, and Legal Studies department in the past three years involved four students in Fall 2010 who submitted a group paper, which was plagiarized. The students received an F for the course. In July 2010, a team of students plagiarized on a marketing management team project. They received a zero on their assignment. In the Honors Introductory Seminar class, 14 cases of cheating occurred. When an Honors student purchased a term paper from the Internet, she received a zero on the paper, which was worth 20 percent of the grade for the CHEATING pg. 5 Hustling the system MSU student gives up the ghost in pinch-hitting scheme of those students asked would not turn in sombody cheating compared to 87% of students in 2004. of cheaters in a 2004 survey think the majority of students approve of cheating. of cheaters in 2004 were fraternity or sorority members. Hannah Hofmann The Wichitan asked 103 MSU students, which punishment is most suitable when a student is caught plagiarizing? 10.7% 69.9% 16.5% 2.9% Fail the class F on the assignment Drop from the class Expel from university All current results were found during a poll conducted by the Wichitan staff. Previous records were found by Dr. Michael A. Vandehey, Dr. George M. Diekhoff and Dr. Emily E. LaBeff. BRITTNEY COTTINGHAM MANAGING EDITOR Would you pay $1,000 for an A? Mike, an MSU student who wishes to remain anonymous, did. His math professor didn’t get the money, however. Mike, a junior business major, paid a fellow student to take his class for him. The Wichitan has learned that Mike and at least two other MSU students shelled out money to others who sat in classes in their place. The other two participants refused to talk about their cheating experiences. Mike admitted to masterminding the pinch-hitting scheme, a method of cheating often referred to as “ghosting.” “It just didn’t seem too bad if I was paying for (a grade) with my own money,” he rationalized. Mike, who is attending MSU on an academic scholarship, believes he had no other choice but to cheat. “I picked classes I had no chance in hell of passing,” he said. “So I thought I would just shatter the system. In Spring 2011, I recruited my cousin, who is excellent at math, to take my College Algebra class.” Desperate times call for desperate measures, Mike said. “For me, homework is never really the problem because you have unlimited time,” he explained. “It’s the tests that I was worried about. I just didn’t want to have to study 12 hours a day for a math test. Math is not my strong point.” Mike negotiated a “going rate” with his cousin that he continued to use for other classes. Mike paid $1,000 for an “A,” $800 for a “B” and $600 for a “C”. No money would exchange hands if he got anything lower. Mike said he learned quickly that beating the system was not an uncomplicated task. One of the core essentials of this operation is picking the right professor, he said. Mike and two friends spent two months investigating before putting their plan into action. They read up on professors on, a review site where students anonymously rate professors from universities around the nation. Several factors, from how observant the professor was to class size and student-toprofessor ratio, were considered before a teacher was selected as the “lucky winner.” Mike said they tried to find a professor who taught to the class as a whole rather than giving students a lot of individual attention. “We hand-picked a teacher that would never interact with students on an individual basis so that the person I picked wouldn’t be noticed much,” Mike said. Mike then went to the classroom where the course would be held to check out the seating arrangements. Finally, Mike de- cided upon the exact seat he wanted his worker to sit. Mike said preparing for this method of cheating was a lot of work. “You get this Secret Agent feeling when you’re doing it that makes it so much better,” Mike said. “It’s very fun. We were hustling a state university.” That spring, while Mike completed his four other classes, he received brief weekly updates on how his College Algebra class was going. Until midterms, there were no problems. Then someone familiar to the real Mike had a close encounter with the professor. “A family member was trying to help me in math because they thought I was actually taking the class,” Mike said. “So they went to meet the teacher without telling me to ask what they could do to help me. (My cousin) has darker skin so when this family member with pale skin goes up to my teacher, it was kind of obvious we weren’t related. We really worried that the teacher might notice.” The professor didn’t seem to notice. After this near-disaster, Mike hired a friend to be on standby to pretend to be his parent – just in case. By May, Mike had racked up an “A” in College Algebra and his cousin was $1,000 richer. Mike said this accomplishment shows a huge hole in MSU’s acapg. 5 demic honesty MIKE

October 26, 2011

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