The University of Maryland's campaign against cheating, begun several weeks ago, has resulted in charges of "academic dishonesty" against six students.
All six are accused of taking tests for other students and were apprehended as a result of a university decision to demand student identification cards from exam-taking students. Five of the six will appeal to the Student Judicial Board before any disciplinary action can be taken against them, according to Gary Pavela, director of the College Park campus's judicial program. The sixth, who was to have graduated this spring, has admitted taking a psychology exam for his girlfriend and will have to wait a year before receiving his degree, Pavela said.
Under the University's former disciplinary code, which was in effect until May 15, and will apply to the six undergraduate charged, students caught cheating on an exam would receive a failing grade for the course and face a period of probation. Students who took exams for other students so-called "ringers" -- would be suspended indefinitely from the school. Pavela said.
Under a new, stricter code of conduct adopted recently by the University's Board of Regents, cheating is punished by indefinite suspension from school and an official entry of "academic dishonesty" on a students transcript.Taking an exam for someone else will now lead to permanent expulsion, Pavela said.
Both the new disciplinary code, and the security check during several exams earlier this month are part of a campaign by the University to crack down on what University officials say is the alarming growth in cheating at Maryland and around the country in the last few years.
While officials say cheating has always occurred to some extent at the university, it has become a severe problem in recent years as students have increasingly felt intense competition for jobs and graduate school admittance.
In the last academic year at Maryland, Pavela said, nearly 90 students were caught cheating and the number of students put on probation for academic dishonesty rose 20 percent over the 1978-79 level.