Case Study 2 Note Passing

Case Title:

Case Study 2 Note Passing

Case Study Publish Date:


Summary of the Case:

During an all-day class, students were allowed to print out notes ahead of time and bring them to class. Notes were also available from the instructor. The instructor in this case noted that a student reportedly threw a Kleenex with a note written on it across the table to another student requesting copies of the first student's notes. Is this cheating or complicity? Both? Neither?

Text of the Case:

Violation Report

The Reporter suspects Alleged Violators (AV1 and AV2) of cheating and complicity during a quiz in an all-day class in a Special Education block of Educational Methods for Junior level Interdisciplinary Studies majors.  Students were allowed to print out pages of notes and were allowed to utilize anything they had brought with them that was printed out to complete the quiz.  Many groups of students printed out pages of notes from study sessions and had the same set of notes.  The instructor also handed out sets of notes for students to utilize during the quiz. In the middle of the quiz AV2 reportedly threw a Kleenex with a note on it across the table that read, “Can I use your notes?”  The use of others’ notes was not allowed as was discussed in classes prior to the quiz.  AV1 finished the quiz and stacked all of her information on the table in front of her chair and left to run an errand and return, which was allowed.  The teaching assistant reportedly saw AV2 reach over and grab AV1 notes from the stack she left and utilize them for the quiz. AV1 and AV2 both filed an appeal as this was an autonomous case handled by the instructor.  AV1 was granted an appeal hearing and AV2 sanction was upheld.
Appeal Statement and Appeal Hearing
AV1 filed an appeal stating that the finding of responsibility was inconsistent with the facts presented in the violation report.  AV1 claimed to have never seen what the note on the Kleenex said, and also claimed to have not been complicit by leaving her notes purposefully to intentionally help AV2 cheat on the quiz. 
The sanction chosen by the instructor was an extra assignment in the form of a paper, and the existence of a file with our office.


Questions for Discussion:

Honor Council members may ask questions of the Reporter and AV1
  • What additional information would you need to make a decision in this case?
  • Would you uphold, overturn, or modify the sanction for AV1?

Additional Commentary:

Notification of a Decision
AV1 had her sanction overturned and was found not responsible for cheating and complicity.  The panel members spoke to AV1 at length about what could have been done differently to avoid being accused and/or found responsible again for academic misconduct.  What piece of information was utilized from student rule 20 to find the student not responsible for academic misconduct?