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KU University Senate preparing to close academic misconduct loophole

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I'm preparing to attend a KU University Senate meeting tomorrow (no need to tell me how jealous you are in the comments below; I already know), but I missed a meeting earlier this month so I've been looking over meeting minutes to catch up.

While doing so I spotted a little loophole the Senate is set to close up in its policy about academic misconduct.

The policy allows instructors to lower students' grades for a course, to as low as an F, if they've committed academic misconduct. But it doesn't explicitly say that a student couldn't, say, get caught cheating on a test, receive an F for the whole course as punishment, then file a protest of that F, then just withdraw from the course before a judicial board makes a final decision, resulting in an F-free transcript and GPA.

That's not the kind of scheme I — or most people, I hope — would immediately dream up while reading the policy, but apparently somebody did. According to minutes from a University Senate meeting earlier this month, John Broholm, an associate professor of journalism, said the School of Journalism requested the change after a student committed academic misconduct and then told the school's dean she would just withdraw from the class in question, saving her from an F, and there was NOTHING THE DEAN COULD DO TO STOP HER. (Then, in my imagination, she crescendoed into a maniacal laugh.)

Anyway, now the Senate is set to vote tomorrow to approve a couple of amendments that would not allow a student to do that. If the student withdrew while the judicial process was going on, then found guilty, he or she would be re-enrolled in the class and assigned the grade determined.

As an aside: that Senate policy defines "academic misconduct" as not only things like cheating on tests or plagiarism, but also "disruption of classes" or "threatening an instructor or fellow student in an academic setting." Interesting, I thought.

Please stop me from continuing to read through university policy by sending me a KU news tip to merickson@ljworld.com.

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