In a case riddled with irony, 64 Dartmouth college students have been charged with honor code violations following a cheating scandal in religion professor Randall Balmer’s “Sports, Ethics and Religion” class, the Dartmouth reported Wednesday.
Balmer, whose class grades were based 15% off attendance and participation, used clickers to measure involvement in the class. He suspected that students were cheating in the class by giving their clickers to friends to participate with and then skipping the lectures themselves, and confirmed his suspicion in November by verifying the discrepancy between the number of students present in the class and the number of digital responses received to in-class questions via clickers. Balmer also said students cheated during the midterm exam, which was administered online, the Dartmouth reported in November.
The students’ actions violate Dartmouth’s Honor Principle, which forbids unauthorized collaboration as well as giving or receiving assistance during an assessment. Following individual hearings — which most students requested, according to the Dartmouth — most accused students were suspended for a term, the Valley News reported Thursday.
Balmer told the Dartmouth that he designed the course with varsity athletes in mind in an effort to ease their transition to a college where he said they might be “a little bit overwhelmed or intimidated academically.” Nearly 70 percent of the course’s 272 students were athletes, including members from two-thirds of the college’s 36 varsity teams, and more than half of the football, men’s hockey and men’s basketball teams.
Balmer told Bloomberg earlier this month that he feels “burned” by the whole affair, adding that he has never faced something on this scale before.
In Spring 2013, 18 of Yale’s Executive Committee’s charges of Academic Dishonesty were the result of plagiarism.