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UVa Graduate Students Suspected Cheating

By: Elizabeth Donatelli
By: Elizabeth Donatelli

June 30, 2005

The University of Virginia is investigating a possible cheating incident. As many as 30 economic graduate students could be involved in the alleged cheating incident.

A graduate economic student supposedly found an answer key to an assignment online, which he or she shared and used with a large section of the class. The department said it was to be done individually and if nothing else, this was a collaborative effort.

"Honor is one of the core values at the University of Virginia," said Kathleen D. Valenzi, UVa spokesperson. "There are some allegations that have been made, we are taking them very seriously and [they] will be investigated fully in accordance with all of the University's policies and procedures, including the honor system."

A university committee is investigating the incident and will decide which students, if any, will go before the Honor Committee, who meets here. UVa has one of the oldest honor codes and members say the investigative process is founded on three things.

"The criteria for an honor offense are: act, intent, and seriousness and they are considering all three criteria," said Stewart Ackerly, Vice Chair of Trials for the Honor Committee.

There is an investigative procedure, then a case goes before three panel members, who decide if the student will be formally accused--which would move the case to trial.

"The accused student has the option of several different jury panels. Those three options are an all-committee member panel, an all-student member panel, or a mix of the two," said Ackerly.

"There's only one sanction for students found guilty at trial and that is permanent expulsion from the University," said Lauren Ross, Vice Chair of Investigation of the Honor Council.

Any investigations will not start until the fall term begins. The honor committee members said a potentially large number of students accused will not effect the standard procedure.


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