Case Study 1 - There's a Note for That

Case Title:

Case Study 1 There's a Note for That

Case Study Publish Date:


Summary of the Case:

Alleged Violator misses the first exam of the semester, is notified that a note is needed to excuse the absence per university policy, Alleged Violator then misses the fourth exam of the semester and when taking the makeup exam for the fourth exam submits a fabricated note for the first exam to the proctor.

Text of the Case:

Violation report was submitted on 12/18/2014 in POLS 207, Section 511. A student was accused of having fabricated not one, but two notes over the course of a semester. However, the twist was that both notes were reported to the AHSO on the same day. The facts follow:
 The investigation with the Faculty Reporter revealed that the student, hereafter called AV, sent an email to the instructor early on the morning of the first exam of the course, stating that a relative was having a heart transplant and the AV had to go to Houston. The faculty reporter responded that he would need a note for the absence, but allowed the student to take the make-up exam, with the stipulation that the exam grade would not be posted until the note was produced. The faculty reporter sent several more emails, but did not actually meet with the AV until almost Thanksgiving, at the request of the AV, to discuss why he had no grade posted for the first exam. During the meeting the AV assured the Faculty Reporter that he had a note for the missing date. In the meantime, the AV missed the fourth exam on December 5th. He attended the makeup exam on December 8th and left a note from his dentist with the proctor of the exam.
On the 17th of December, the Faculty Reporter got an email from the AV with a note for the first absence attached. The note was a fill in the blank style document, with several different fonts. The Faculty Reporter called the phone number on the note and was told that the doctor referenced in the note did not work there, and they are not a cardiac clinic. The Faculty Reporter then reviewed the dental note more closely and realized that while the date at the top of the note was dated December 3rd, there is a range of dates allowing the AV to be absent from the 3rd through the 5th. The Faculty Reporter called the dental office and discovered that the appointment was, in fact, for the 3rd. The case with both notes attached, was submitted to the AHSO the next day.
The investigation with the AV revealed the assertion from the AV that a relative did have a heart transplant in Houston. However, the AV was reluctant to offer much more information, other than to say that a genuine note could be obtained. The AV was advised to get it and bring it to the hearing. The AV was more open about the issue surrounding the second note. According to the AV, there was an appointment on the 3rd, however, there were complications and another procedure with a different dentist was scheduled for the 5th.  AV had to get records from another dentist and those records weren’t delivered to the first dentist until the 5th. He was again advised that he should get a genuine note for that appointment to present at the hearing.
Prior to the hearing, the AV spoke to the Case Manager by phone and announced that family issues were forcing a move to CA, however, the AV assured the case manager that the hearing date of January 30th would be fine and that the AV would be in attendance. The AV did not show up for the hearing and did not respond to phone calls made by the case manager. The Faculty Reporter explained during the hearing that he only requires a note for a make-up exam if the student is going to take the same exam that was given to the rest of the class. If a student does not have a note, the Faculty Reporter has a more detailed, longer exam that the student can take.

Questions for Discussion:

What additional information would you need to make a decision in this case?

Would you find this AV responsible for academic misconduct? Why or why not?

Additional Commentary:

Additional Information:
After reviewing the information presented in the hearing, the panel found the student responsible for academic misconduct in the form of both fabrication and falsification.
This was a first offense situation, and the Director of the AHSO encouraged the panel to consider the full range of sanctions available.
With this additional information, what sanction(s) would you choose and why?

Resolution of: There’s a Note for That

AV was sanctioned with the following:

1) A grade of F* in the course;

2) Suspension through the Fall 2015 semester

The case was not appealed and the sanctions were applied.