News

Poop on plagiarism says COA, Academic Senate

STEVEN JACKSON, Editor-in-Chief

At its last meeting on April 11, Academic Senate voted to change the consequences for student violators of the college’s Academic Honesty Policy.
In the past, a student who was dismissed from the college for committing plagiarism or cheating did not carry a permanent mark of the offense on their record; their transcript would simply read “dismissed.”
Starting next academic year, however, violators’ transcripts will permanently read, “dismissal for violation of the college’s academic honesty policy.”
“The registrar had come to the Curriculum Oversight and Administration Committee (COA) seeking some sort of policy regarding how to mark transcripts in those rare cases when a student is dismissed from the college for academic dishonesty,” said Matt Tedesco, professor of philosophy and COA chair.
Both COA and Academic Senate had exhaustive debates over the issue. COA is a small committee of faculty, administrators, and students; Academic Senate is composed of all faculty members and 13 elected students.
Proponents of the change stressed the need for a reliable indicator of a student’s academic history.
“A transcript should be an accurate picture of a student’s academic record at Beloit, and academic dishonesty fits in as part of that record,” said Tedesco.
Those opposed to the change argued that marring a student’s permanent record is too harsh a punishment.
“I think it’s silly that a college like Beloit wants to ruin a student’s future employment prospects,” said Ian Hedges ’12, who is a student senator that serves on COA. “I think that students should be given the opportunity to reflect on their actions, and then be allowed to ask for the college to remove the notation from their transcript so that they might have better chances attending other institutions.”

They instead proposed a system in which students receive the “academic dishonesty” notation on their transcript.
The matter was put to a vote at COA last month, and passed. The committee was nearly evenly split on the issue. The permanent notation option succeeded by a margin of one vote, with COA member Charles Westerberg weighing in as the tie-breaker. The measure was then later passed in Academic Senate.
The college’s Administrative Policy Manual was updated this month to reflect the change. To see the document yourself, visit the Administrative Policy Manual webpage at http://www.beloit.edu/apm/ and check out Chapter IX, General Academic Regulations.

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