COLUMBUS (WCMH/AP) — Eighty-five students are facing disciplinary action over a cheating conspiracy at Ohio State University’s nationally prominent veterinary school.
A statement from the University confirms the investigation began in February after university officials received claims that students at the College of Veterinary Medicine were sharing answers on online take-home tests.
University officials declined to name the courses involved or discuss specifics of the discipline because of student-privacy laws. Punishment for unauthorized collaboration ranges from a warning to dismissal from the school.
Some of the disciplined students are appealing their punishments to the provost’s office.
The Office of Academic Affairs is looking into other tests and quizzes at the veterinary school that use the same software as the tests on which the cheating was found. The college also changed some testing practices and issued the following statement:
“Any form of academic misconduct is unacceptable. The college is reassessing and implementing best practices in instructional and evaluative processes, identified during the investigation, to ensure both an optimal learning environment and academic integrity.”
The college says it is also eliminating any non-collaborative take-home exams and quizzes and “implementing new training for faculty on academic misconduct in the digital age.”
Dr. David Lowenstein, a psychologist in Columbus, said when that many students cheat, it’s not just a misunderstanding.
“Each one of those kids has either heard about the honor code, knew about the honor code, knew it was cheating, knew it wasn’t OK,” Lowenstein said. “But because 84 other ones were doing it, all of a sudden it made it OK.”
Ohio State students were divided on how severe the punishment should be.
“Zero [on the assignment] would probably make most sense,” said Shawn Sutton, a third-year civil engineering student. “Warnings also makes more sense than expulsion. Expulsion’s extreme for this situation.”
“It is kind of a slippery slope when it comes to cheating and especially on take-home tests, but however the administration sees fit, I can definitely agree with that,” said Tyler Albright, an incoming freshman.
Lowenstein said no punishment would completely put a stop to cheating, but he noted that there were lessons to be learned.
“People cheat every day. People lie every day. People do things that are wrong every day,” Lowenstein said. “I think the end message is eventually you’re going to get caught. It’s not OK to cheat.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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