Hotline Helps Yield Hundreds Of Purdue Cheating Reports In '16-'17

May 5, 2017

The Office of the Dean of Students treats cheating on a test and accidentally plagiarizing part of a paper differently.
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Purdue University’s office of the dean of students received more than 300 reports of academic dishonesty this year.

About 7-percent of academic dishonesty complaints came from the school’s newly-implemented integrity hotline. Associate Dean of Students Jeff Stefancic says there was student demand for a line to contact the office about cheating concerns.

He says he hopes that attitude, plus an improved student-led honor pledge, will promote an academically honest campus culture.

“The more that we can have students being champions for that, along with the administration, I think is a good recipe for success,” Stefancic says.

He estimates around one-third of those reports were actionable cases. The university’s penalties for academic dishonesty range from a warning to expulsion. He says the most common form of academic dishonesty on campus is excessive collaboration.

Stefancic says he expects to receive more reports as final exams conclude this week.

He says when a report is investigated, the professor of the course works with the university to decide what action needs to be taken. He says cheating on a test would have different penalties than lesser concerns such as not properly citing a paper.

“Those opportunities, those situations, I think – for me – are a little bit different than ‘I plagiarized a paper because I procrastinated and then I was running out of time and I had to go cut and paste something,” he says.

At the same time, a special committee is investigating the school’s academic rigor. Stefancic says he doesn’t believe cheating is having an impact on grade inflation.