Volume 94, Issue 37

Friday, November 3, 2000


Schools scrutinize codes of conduct

Unruly student houses raise a stink

Ombuds office gives annual report card

Case closes on elections skirmish

Parliament Hill turns into Beverly Hills 90210

Memoial University still a ghost town

Ombuds office gives annual report card

By Aaron Wherry
Gazette Staff

According to the final report of Western's ombudsperson, students and administrators must pay close attention to plagiarism and other forms of scholastic cheating.

Ombudsperson Frances Bauer, said each year she selects one issue to focus on in her annual report. During the past year, Bauer said, 57 scholastic offences have been filed with her office – 29 for cheating on exams and 28 for plagiarism.

The annual report states 20 per cent of students admitted guilt to the ombudsperson, 20 per cent said they had made innocent mistakes and 61 per cent claimed they were not guilty. According to Bauer, the process which the university follows before charging a student with a scholastic offence makes it unlikely that a high percentage of students charged with offences are innocent.

"I think there are a lot of protective safeguards. I don't rule out the possibility of mistakes, but I don't think the university is wrong 61 per cent of the time," she said, adding students found guilty have further rights. "A student charged with a scholastic offence has the automatic right to appeal. The right of the student to be treated fairly is taken very seriously."

In the past, Bauer said it has been difficult to inform students of the existence of an ombudperson office. The ombudsperson is funded jointly by the university and the University Students' Council, but does not have to report any information to either body. "We work in confidence," she said.

Associate dean of the faculty of science, Michael Owen, said scholastic crime has been a problem, but the faculty of science has taken steps to identify cheating. "This faculty has taken a lead in using ScanExam testing." ScanExam testing allows professors to identify identical results in multiple choice exams and the probability of coincidental duplication, he explained.

Roma Harris, vice provost and registrar, said she found Bauer's annual report holds tremendous value for all parties. "I have a huge respect for the ombudsperson and find her operation very helpful."

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