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Author Topic: My friend was threatened expulsion.
katharina
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Even given that it was a lie, I think getting someone kicked out of their dream school and flushing years of work down the drain is a punishment all out of porportion for the offense. It's a little disturbing to see it shrugged off.
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erosomniac
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quote:
Originally posted by katharina:
Even given that it was a lie, I think getting someone kicked out of their dream school and flushing years of work down the drain is a punishment all out of porportion for the offense. It's a little disturbing to see it shrugged off.

But again: the school isn't the one doing it. She's doing it to herself.
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MrSquicky
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quote:
I think getting someone kicked out of their dream school and flushing years of work down the drain is a punishment all out of porportion for the offense.
How are they doing this, exactly? If they are informing the dream school that this student cheated on this assignment and gave the nature of the cheating, I don't even see that as a punishment. That's them responsibly conveying this information.

Are people saying that they should cover up this information or even lie themselves so that the college doesn't find out about this?

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katharina
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quote:
But again: the school isn't the one doing it. She's doing it to herself.
The school certainly is doing it to her - they are choosing how to handle it.

Like in the other thread, the teachers have a variety of ways to handle the situation. If they do it this way, they cannot pretend they wouldn't know what would happen and cannot escape their part in it.

Unless the prospective schools get informed of every event after acceptance - grades, reasons for all grades, fights, everything - then doing so would be unusual and harsh. It's too much.

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erosomniac
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quote:
Originally posted by katharina:
quote:
But again: the school isn't the one doing it. She's doing it to herself.
The school certainly is dong.

Like in the other thread, the teachers have a variety of ways to handle the situation. If they do it this way, they cannot pretend they wouldn't know what would happen and cannot escape their part in it.

Unless the prospective schools get informed of every event after acceptance - grades, fights, everything - then doing so would be unusual and harsh. It's too much.

Did they NOT do this at your school?

My high school made it very, very clear they would report on your activities as a second semester senior to all all of your colleges. I suspect they did so in my case, and I suspect it may have had a lot to do with why I was only accepted by 2 of the 13 or so I applied to. "Unusual and harsh" to you, maybe - but it sounds like standard policy to me, and a damn good one.

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katharina
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My senior year was unusual for a variety of reasons, so my personal experience isn't relevant. But no, as far as I know, they didn't.
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MrSquicky
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I'm pretty sure my school did. I'm not sure why their responsibility to provide accurate information ends once the student is accepted. Do you agree that they have this responsibility beforehand?
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Storm Saxon
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quote:

Your equation of the natural consequences of lying and "If you can't do the time, don't do the crime" is fallacious.

Here is the thing. I don't agree with you. I would like to discuss this with you further, but by no means do I consider your take on this to be a cut and dried take on the situation.

I consider statements like the above to be patronizing and rude and not conducive to conversation. They're one of the largest reasons why I don't engage you in dialogue very often, because so much of what you write is, to you, cut and dried and there is no room for dialogue. To me, it seems far better to say something along the lines of,"I don't agree with you, here's why..."

I hope this makes sense to you. If not, then I don't know what else to say. No one likes being lectured to.

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katharina
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I disagree with Dag because I do not think that being kicked out or the manufactured punishments are natural consequences.

Natural consequences are exactly that - they don't need to be created or decided on. A natural consequence of lying could be that one's word is worth less, one becomes less trustworthy, one finds it easier to lie the next time, one treats others with less respect because lying it itself disrespectful and the cognitive dissonance of lying to people who don't deserve it may be too much to bear. One way to resolve that dissonance would be to stop lying; another would be to decide that they deserve it after all.

All of those are what I consider to be natual consequences. Getting kicked out of dream college is nowhere on that list.

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Dagonee
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quote:
No one likes being lectured to.
I was responding to this:

quote:
That said, the idea that there is a 'natural consequence' to breaking a rule ignores the fact that, for a lot of rules or laws, there are a range of consequences, rather than one forced consequence, and that these consequences are artificially imposed by people, who are going to have a wide range of opinions on whether something is wrong or not, and what the consequences should be.
I'm not quite sure why being told I'm ignoring something is different than telling someone they are drawing an inaccurate conclusion. I do not feel like I ignored those things, and I've explained why at fair length.
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Storm Saxon
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I think had I said 'Rivka is wrong because...', then followed with the quoted portion, then that would have been equivalent to what you wrote.

I don't know. Am I being too sensitive with Dagonee's response to me? Anyone else want to chime in on this?

It's certainly not unheard of for me to take offense where I shouldn't. [Wink] If the board agrees that I am being oversensitive, then I will apologize.

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Belle
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quote:
Getting kicked out of dream college is nowhere on that list.
Again, the school is not kicking her out of anything. All we're saying is that the school should notify the college. From that point on, it's up to the college whether or not they wish to accept her.

You said a natural consequence for lying is that one's word is worth less. I agree. So, how about the teachers and/or administrators that wrote letters of recommendation for this kid? I tell you, if I'm a teacher and I write a letter of recommendation and commend a kid's character, then find out they cheat, I would feel obligated to let the college know that I am rescinding my recommendation. Otherwise, I risk damage to my own reputation. Why should I accept the natural consequence, as you put it, that my word as a teacher is now worth less?

I don't feel there should be any obligation on the part of the school to overlook this transgression just because it was this girl's lifelong dream. It was in her hands to make her dream a reality - it sounds like she did everything she needed to in order to make it happen except one thing - remain academically honest. That one thing, though, is a pretty important one.

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katharina
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quote:
Anyway, he threatened to tell University X about it and get her expelled.
We are working with an uncertain set of facts.

Perhaps the second half of the quote was an exageration, either by the student, her teacher, or the original poster. Either the student or the original poster, it's fine. If by the teacher, then the teacher is on a power trip and should be recused from making the decision.

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scholar
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From the college's perspective, I certainly would like to know if a student cheated. I have had undergrads lie to me and after confronting them, I have been pretty convinced that they have lied before and been given leniency. And from that, they have learned that being smart or talented or whatever means they don't have to be honest, because no one is willing to punish them fully and "ruin" their lives.
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katharina
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Then again, you don't know how many students have made a mistake and then, upon given another chance, never did it again. You only become aware of the recidivists.
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Storm Saxon
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quote:

From the college's perspective, I certainly would like to know if a student cheated. I have had undergrads lie to me and after confronting them, I have been pretty convinced that they have lied before and been given leniency. And from that, they have learned that being smart or talented or whatever means they don't have to be honest, because no one is willing to punish them fully and "ruin" their lives.

I would like to point out that I don't think cheating is the right word for what's going on here, as she overqualified the requirements for her class.

Lying seems to me to be closer to the actual offense, but the fact that she didn't do it for herself, and that she would derive no real benefit from it, leads me to believe that a better way to put it was that she was being nice at the wrong time. Right impulse, wrong ends. So, I could see her being given a pass on this, and I think the school did the right thing by threatening her with some of the worst possible consequences for her actions, reminding her that what she did was wrong and not to do it again.

In no way do I think the school should have told the college and jeopardized the career of what seems to be a good student and an achiever. I think that would have been far out of proportion to the offense.

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Belle
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quote:
I would like to point out that I don't think cheating is the right word for what's going on here, as she overqualified the requirements for her class.

I do think cheating is the right word. Yes, you're correct in that what she did is lying, but it's more than that. Academic records were falsified. That means there was intent to attain a grade not properly earned. The fact that the grade wouldn't have benefitted her directly is beside the point. Both people involved should fail either the assignment or the course, depending on school policy. The other person could not have cheated without her involvement. She is a participant in the cheating incident, and she should be punished the same way.

Whether or not the school should notify the college depends on several factors, in my book. 1) Did school officials write recommendations for this student to the college? If so, they should contact the college and let them know circumstances have changed, and they cannot recommend the student in the same manner as they originally did. 2) Does the school have a policy of reporting such incidents to colleges? If so, they should follow that policy and not treat this student any differently.

If they wrote no letters, and there is no policy to report such things, they should punish her to the extent allowed by school policy and then drop it.

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BannaOj
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Back to my previous example as the thread has moved way on... If there isn't an explicit prohibition from a professor that old homeworks can not be studied from, and yet some people have them from an archive and other don't, while it's not breaking any rules, is it fair?

Maybe the attitude is slightly different in engineering. I mean when you take the P.E. exam, you are *allowed* to bring any reference material you like. You aren't going to pass the test unless you know what you are doing.

That was kind of the philosophy for the most part in all my engineering classes as well. One professor used to say "you can bring in anything you can carry" until someone carried in a small grad student. He was impressed by their ingenuity and I believe the grad student was allowed to remain for the test.

They also sort of viewed the ability to obtain old homework from previous classes as sort of a survival of the fittest mode. If you didn't have the skilz to obtain those old tests through fair means or foul(which were often very necessary in order to know what to study to pass) you didn't deserve to be an engineer in the first place.

Oh yeah, and group assignments... forget equality. In the real world if someone doesn't pull their weight you still have to cover for them and your presentation had still better be good... so it was like that in class too. In a severe case the loser in the group would be docked a letter grade but that didn't happen very often. It was more suck it up and deal.

AJ

I think some of my profs would have *approved* of sharing the credits the way this hypothetical friend did. I'm trying to parse for myself the difference of moral basis and I'm having a hard time doing so. Suffice to say, the way the real world works, is if you don't get caught it's ok, (not that this is the ethical thing but it's the way the world really works) so they would have been more upset that she got caught than anything else.

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Storm Saxon
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AJ's post highlights a lot of what I was trying to say. That is, whether there was an offense, the nature of the offense, and the degree of the offense are all very much up in the air. It's certainly not clear to me that she should be face negative consequences for what she did.
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The Rabbit
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Belle, When you become a teacher, I suspect your view point will change. If I had a student in my classes who had been top of the class, who was very motivated, talented, and ambitious as well as concerned about her class mates, I'm sure I would have spent time mentoring that student. If she'd asked me for a letter of recommendation, I would have certainly talked to her about her goals. If I'd written a letter of recommendation for her, it would have been because I knew she had potential and because I wanted her to succeed. I really doubt that this one incidence would have changed my entire attitude toward this student.

Kids make mistakes. I would have tried to teach her why her actions were wrong and the seriousness of what she had done. But I certainly wouldn't try to get her kicked out of the college of her choice for this alone. No ones future should ride on one stupid mistake like this. If I thought highly enough of her before this incident to give her a strong letter of recommendation, this one incident wouldn't be enought for me to turn from being this students advocate to being her adversary.

When I write a letter of recommendation for a student, I do so based on my direct experience with that student. If that expereince has been positive, I will agree to write a letter. If it has been negative, I will tell the student to find someone else to write the letter. When I write my letters, I clearly explain my relationship to the student (such as this student was in 2 of the classes I taught and worked on a special project with me) and base my recommendation on that direct experience. So for example, I might say "While this student was in my class she demonstrated respect and integrity by doing X". I would never say "She always demonstrates respect and integrity". This has two advantages. When an admissions person reads the letter, I've given some specific examples and not just superlative language. Second, I've made it very clear what the limits are of my recommendation so its very unlikely that I would ever feel the need to retract what I had written. Finally, I would never have included information in a letter that I had heard from a third party. Unless I've personally observed it, it would be unethical for me to put it in a recommendation letter.

Unless something happened that was directly relevant to the comments in my letter, I would never retract the letter. So pretty much, unless I found the student had plagarized a report that I had praised or something comparable, I wouldn't have a reason to retract my letter.


Finally, Let me say that I don't know enough about the situation to know whether the school would be out of line to report this to a college. Normally, schools don't send everything in a students file to colleges. Most colleges will get final transcripts and letters of recommendation from high schools but not everything on the students record. Unless the high school normally sends this type of information to every college every student applies to, or the college has specifically requested such information from the high school then I don't see a reason why they should send it in this case. If the incident will appear on the students transcript, then the college will get it any way. Any acceptance to college is prerequisit on satisfactory completion of the final semester in high school. If this cheating incident had changed this students grade in a previous course or some other information that the school had already sent to the college, then the school would have a clear ethical obligation to report it to the college. If it does not, then the school would be well advised to document and verify every detail they share with college about this incident or a libel suit could be brought against them.

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Samuel Bush
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Well, if the young lady who is the subject of this thread turns out to be the liar that some have painted her to be, and she ends up being rejected the U of X ivy league university in question, she at least has a potentially great and lucrative future in advertising, politics, or certain segments of journalism to look forward too.
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rivka
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quote:
Belle, When you become a teacher, I suspect your view point will change. If I had a student in my classes who had been top of the class, who was very motivated, talented, and ambitious as well as concerned about her class mates, I'm sure I would have spent time mentoring that student. If she'd asked me for a letter of recommendation, I would have certainly talked to her about her goals. If I'd written a letter of recommendation for her, it would have been because I knew she had potential and because I wanted her to succeed. I really doubt that this one incidence would have changed my entire attitude toward this student.
Perhaps.

But I was a teacher for 10 years, and I agree with Belle. Moreover, finding out that a student that I had thought well of had lied and cheated most certainly would change my attitude toward them. Entirely? No. But I would have trouble trusting them, and would no longer feel comfortable writing them a recommendation letter -- unless the incident had been quite some time in the past and the student had clearly learned their lesson. Which is less likely to happen if the expected consequences are not applied.

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erosomniac
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quote:
Originally posted by Storm Saxon:
It's certainly not clear to me that she should be face negative consequences for what she did.

Do you acknowledge that there are rules against cheating, and what she did constitutes cheating, regardless of degree?
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Rakeesh
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quote:
That is, whether there was an offense, the nature of the offense, and the degree of the offense are all very much up in the air.
I'm not sure where you're getting this, Storm. Or at least, it sure seems like reaching to me. Wasn't it stated that this was against the rules, and thus an offense? And since it was against the rules, and since I've never heard of community-service hours requirements for anything not requiring documentation, isn't it also pretty clear that there was some documentation falsification?
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katharina
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quote:
Kids make mistakes. I would have tried to teach her why her actions were wrong and the seriousness of what she had done. But I certainly wouldn't try to get her kicked out of the college of her choice for this alone. No ones future should ride on one stupid mistake like this. If I thought highly enough of her before this incident to give her a strong letter of recommendation, this one incident wouldn't be enought for me to turn from being this students advocate to being her adversary.
Rabbit, this is exactly what i was trying to get at.

It's disturbing to me that there is absolutely no room for mistakes. It's the equivelent of a zero tolerance policy, and zero tolerance policies are quite draconian.

I'm thinking of all the stupid mistakes I've made in my life, and while none were like this, several sure could call into question my professionalism and my desirablity as a student.

For instance, when my mother got sick, I skipped class for three days and missed a quiz and had the guy I had a crush on be the messenger to my teachers. He didn't want to but he was my friend, and my teachers were unhappy with me and it put him in an awkward position. Honestly, that was dumb - I shouldn't have done that. I can't even blame being befuddled or scared. It had seemed like a great way to get this tall, gorgeous guy more closely involved with my life. I'm sure that was obvious to everyone. Thank heavens my teachers didn't write me off as an idiot and a lost cause then.

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Storm Saxon
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quote:

Do you acknowledge that there are rules against cheating, and what she did constitutes cheating, regardless of degree?

quote:

I'm not sure where you're getting this, Storm. Or at least, it sure seems like reaching to me. Wasn't it stated that this was against the rules, and thus an offense? And since it was against the rules, and since I've never heard of community-service hours requirements for anything not requiring documentation, isn't it also pretty clear that there was some documentation falsification?

BannaOJ's post gives a lot of good reasons why what the girl did at the school is not bad in all contexts and, in fact, might be the right thing to do in many (that is, working together to overcome an obstacle). That's kind of what I was going for.

That it is against the rules at the school is clear, however I think many people here disagree as to 1)whether that rule is a 'good' rule and, thus, 2)how 'bad' it is to break that rule and 3) how the girl should be punished (if at all) for breaking the rule. I think there's probably a 4) lurking around of 'children' as future citizens can't be taught that rules are something you can violate at will.

I stand by my assessment upthread that the school basically did the right thing. I also stand by my statement earlier that I am wildly ambivalent about requiring community service for children as a requirement to graduate. I also see no reason not to believe that the girl is an excellent overall student given her grades and, as far as I know, doesn't have a history of violating the rules. So, to me, the best good is that it's made clear to her that there could be serious consequences, but not actually take the chance of injuring her chance at the best things in life by informing the colleges and possibly keeping her from going to the best school. Edit: As kat and rabbit say, everyone makes mistakes.

I don't agree that whatever the consequence, this is something that the girl is doing to herself, as the school must decide on the punishment.

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Dagonee
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quote:
It's disturbing to me that there is absolutely no room for mistakes. It's the equivelent of a zero tolerance policy, and zero tolerance policies are quite draconian.
There's plenty of room for mistakes. Further, it's not as if the college is necessarily going to kick her out. By failing to tell them, however, the school is denying them the opportunity to decide what types of people it wants to admit to its community.

I wouldn't recomend someone who did this. Had I recomended them, I would rescind that recomendation. That's not ruining anyone's future - it's preventing them from using me to lie for them.

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MrSquicky
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And, as I said, I don't see the school fulfilling its responsibility to give accurate information to the college as a punishment. I just don't get how people telling other people who they have a responsibility to what she did as them punishing her.

If she had done this in her Junior year, should they have told the school? How far does the "She really wants to go to a good school." motivation allow the high school to withhold information? If she gets a really bad grade, can they just not report it? Gets in a fight? Cheats on a test? Where's the time and level cut-off here?

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katharina
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quote:
Had I recommended them, I would rescind that recommendation. That's not ruining anyone's future - it's preventing them from using me to lie for them.
Would it matter why you recommended them int he first place? Is everything good you said to be erased by one thing? One mistake wipes out all good will? I think if your good opinion of the student was tenuous enough that one mistake wipes it out, then the teachers should have passed on recommending at all, because they couldn't do it honestly in the first place.

I don't think one mistake - and I agree that the behavior was bad - is enough to wipe out everything good someone has done.

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Dagonee
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quote:
Would it matter why you recommended them int he first place? Is everything good you said to be erased by one thing?
That's not erasing everything good. It means I won't endorse them.

This isn't a mistake - it's a lie. It's the falsification of an academic document - the same types of documents I would rely on, at least in part, to make the recomendation.

I take recomending very seriously, and it's an enormous thing. It puts my word on the line, and the reputation of my future recomendations. I wouldn't harm future students by risking my own credibility this way.

I might consider revising the recomendation to account for the mistake - that is mentioning it and stating that I liked how the recomendee handled her mistake (assuming I did - "It's not a big deal" wouldn't qualify). The choice would be that or silent rescission of the recomendation (as a teacher making a recomendation, not as an administrator).

The principal's certification I had to get filled out when I applied to undergrad required a statement about whether I had ever cheated. I would feel an ongoing duty to update that were I the one who had signed that form.

She falsified an academic record. This is a BIG deal. It shouldn't ruin her future, but the school she's been accepted to should have the knowledge to decide for itself whether they want her.

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Dagonee
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quote:
If she had done this in her Junior year, should they have told the school?
This would have required a positive lie for the school I applied to, not just silent omission.
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Dagonee
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BTW, were I on the admission committee, I'd probably still let her in, but I would require some kind of show of contrition and attendance at a seminar on academic integrity. I would also place her on a zero tolerance policy going forward and make her sign an agreement to that effect.
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katharina
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quote:
were I on the admission committee, I'd probably still let her in, but I would require some kind of show of contrition and attendance at a seminar on academic integrity. I would also place her on a zero tolerance policy going forward and make her sign an agreement to that effect.
This I like, because it makes it serious, but gives her another chance. I've made a lot of really dumb, really big mistakes, but rarely the same one twice.
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vonk
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Rereading the original post, it is never said that anyone gave her a recommendation. Most of the reasons shown for telling the school are based on not wanting to misreprisent someone, or not wanting to be made to lie on the students behalf, or something else based on an obligation the school has to tell the univerity.

If the student got into University X on her own, or with recommendations from other instituions, not including the highschool, would it still be appropriate for the school to call the university? The only prior communication you can assume is the sending of the transcript, and that isn't falsified. In this situation, wouldn't it be more appropriate to punish the student within the highschool, not attempting to effect any other part of her life?

The school then only has a commitment to report the student's grades for the second half of her senior year. If these grades, as a result of her cheating, are not good enough to guarantee admission to the school, then so be it. But if they are good enough to get in, then what business is it of the highschool how much the Uni knows about other matters? They are not obligated to communicate anything. What are they going to do? Follow the girl around to all of the colleges she applies for and tell them that she cheated, out of some misguided sense of responsibility to "teach her a lesson"?

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Liz B
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Cheating is a big deal. This girl cheated. It's not OK, and it's not a silly mistake.

The high school should follow whatever their cheating policy is. Their cheating policy is probably not to
quote:
Follow the girl around to all of the colleges she applies for and tell them that she cheated, out of some misguided sense of responsibility to "teach her a lesson,"
so they should not do that. But perhaps it means she fails the class. That will likely get reported to the university in a final transcript, so it may amount to the same thing. I don't think they should make an exception for this student because she's worked really hard. Yet they should not make an exception the other way, either. If the school's usual response to cheating is a warning, then that's what she should get. I don't think I'm writing anything new; that's what most of the posters in favor of "punishment" have been in favor of.

Recommendations are another issue altogether and are separate from the punishment/ consequences the school may impose. I actually think they come under the heading of the natural consequences katharina was discussing earlier. Many recommendation forms I've completed ask me to evaluate a candidate based on character, then explain my evaluations. Like other posters (Dagonee, rivka) I would not write a recommendation for a student I knew to have been academically dishonest. If I wrote a recommendation and then the student cheated in my class or another class, I would contact the institution and rescind or revise all or part of my recommendation. If the school asked why (or if the nature of the form required me to elaborate), I would. Then whatever the admissions committee decided would be up to that committee.

(Do schools still require recommendations from a guidance counselor? If so, that person might feel the need to adjust the recommendation...or maybe not.)

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BannaOj
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Incidentally do we have any reason to actually believe the initial poster of this thread was saying something genuine to begin with? Maybe we don't have reason to dis-believe it, but we haven't had any more posts from that person either.

AJ

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Belle
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True but it's been an interesting discussion, regardless.
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TheSeeingHand
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Just an update:

She got off with a day of in-school suspension several weeks later and had to write an apology letter to her teacher.

A month later her teacher told her she couldn't go on the trip she planned for the school's political awareness club, of which she is a co-founder.

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Storm Saxon
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*shakes head*
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Kwea
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And you thought they were too TOUGH on her? [Roll Eyes]
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