Volume 93, Issue 25

Thursday, October 14, 1999


Council reallocates fallen VP's portfolio

Western asks city for $10 million

Dial-a-glitch soon fixed

Ottawa may pull plug on exam tool

Now serving number six billion


Caught on Campus

Bass Ackwards

Ottawa may pull plug on exam tool

By John Intini
Gazette Staff

Students using ear plugs during exams have drummed up a bit of excitement at the University of Ottawa.

A recent proposal from the school's administration which bans students from entering exam rooms with high-tech devices and ear plugs, has been temporarily shelved thanks to a request from Andrea Nadeau, VP-internal of the university's Student Federation.

In August, the school's executive committee drafted the proposal to crack down on cheating during exams. On Oct. 4, the request was tabled at a Senate meeting where Nadeau requested it be held over for another month. Postponing the decision will allow for further discussion with members of the federation and students, she said.

"Student's shouldn't be penalized for having learning disabilities or troubles concentrating during high pressure exams," she said. "We're not worried about the issue of cracking down on fraud but rather the wording of the proposal."

Nadeau explained the proposal stipulates students cannot bring in cell phones and pagers, among other technological devices which may increase the possibility of cheating. She said she does not have a problem with this part of the document, however, in a separate sentence it is proposed ear plugs be banned from use during all exams.

"Exams are written during peak cold and flu seasons in big gyms where the noise is amplified," she said. "For some students it is tough to concentrate with all the coughing and sneezing."

Henri Wong, Registrar at the University of Ottawa, said his goal in bringing forward the proposal was to curb the cheating and fraud which occurs during exams.

"The technology has greatly increased over the years and we don't have a written statement which lays out the guidelines," he said. "Cell phones can send email now and many calculators can hold a great deal in their memories.

"We need to have something in place so that when we catch a student [cheating] there is something written to guide in the disciplinary procedure."

He added the proposal is not an attempt to ban the use of ear plugs, but rather to allow exam proctors to check the plug's validity. "Our goal is to create a fair playing field for all students."

Wong, a member of the executive committee, added the proposal will be re-evaluated over the next couple of weeks. "We're not going to frisk students," he said. "We just want to be able to reserve the right to check students we think may be cheating,"

Ashly Cooper, first-year social sciences student at the university, said the thought of banning the use of ear plugs during exams is ridiculous.

"If students need ear plugs to concentrate or for medical reasons they should be given equal rights," she said.

"Anyway, if a student is smart enough to put a microphone or something else in an ear plug to help them, chances are [they're] smart enough to pass the exam without help," she added.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999