Great Bend As many as 30 students may have been involved in academic dishonesty during finals week of the fall term at Barton County Community College, officials at the two-year school said.
That number includes seven students caught cheating on finals, school president Veldon Law said, and a case in which none of the 16 students in a government class spoke up when their instructor mistakenly handed out a copy of the final exam.
In the most serious case, two students were caught stealing the final exam from an instructor's office.
They gained access to the locked office by lying to a campus security officer, Law said.
One student was caught looking at another's final in science class, the school said, and four students downloaded term papers from the Internet and presented them as their own work.
"It's an epidemic," Law said. "We've discovered over 200 Web sites someone can go to and download term papers."
Government instructor Bob Dunavan, who accidentally handed his final to a student while passing out papers, realized his mistake and wrote a new test.
"Nobody said anything," Dunavan said. "It was a disappointment. It was like somebody seeing a wallet on the ground and saying, 'Oh boy, lucky me.'"
Usually, the punishment for cheating is determined by the instructor, who can give students an F for the assignment or for the entire course. In the case of the students caught stealing a test, they were also stripped of their athletic scholarships, limited in competition time for their sport and placed on academic probation, Law said.