34 face punishment in Duke cheating case

Group collaborated on test for class in business school

April 29, 2007|By McClatchy-Tribune

DURHAM, N.C. -- In the largest cheating scandal in the history of Duke University's Fuqua School of Business, 34 MBA students face serious penalties after university officials determined they collaborated on answers for an exam.

Nine students face expulsion, said Mike Hemmerich, an associate dean at the business school. Fifteen will receive a one-year suspension from the school along with a failing grade in the course. Nine will get a failing grade in the course, and one student received a failing grade for the exam. Four students were found not guilty. All were from the Class of 2008.

Federal privacy laws prevent naming the students, said Hemmerich, who wouldn't disclose what the course was or what the test was about. He said those involved were first-year students taking a required test.

A professor noticed unusual consistencies in the answers of a take-home exam, which students are supposed to do on their own, Hemmerich said. Investigation showed that students were meeting in groups to work on the test.

Students are allowed to use notes and other materials for the exam. Hemmerich said he wasn't sure whether the students gathered all together or in separate groups. The students were found guilty by Fuqua's judicial board after the panel heard 22 separate cases over several weeks.

"Fuqua depends on every member of its community to uphold the code in both spirit and action," Fuqua Dean Douglas T. Breeden said in a written statement. "This is why we require, as a condition for enrollment, that all students acknowledge their personal acceptance of the code."

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