Council proposes new DF grade

Rachel Abbey

Students concerned about cheating and plagiarism in the classroom have proposed implementing a Dishonesty Failure grade.

The grade, proposed by the College of Arts and Sciences Student Advisory Council, would appear as the official grade on a student’s transcript if the student was found to be exercising academic dishonesty.

Currently, the council is seeking input from the student body through a poll they made available through the College of Arts and Sciences Web site Monday.

Student Advisory Council president and senior psychology major Jennifer Jonda said the results of the poll will help the council develop a proposal and some possible criteria for the grade. The feedback will show the council what concerns students have.

The council sent out a preliminary e-mail survey to randomly chosen students to gauge initial response. The council found most students who expressed concerns were worried about being unfairly given a DF grade.

Timothy Moore, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said the grade should be enacted through the current process. It would be submitted at the end of the semester, and the following semester could serve as an appeal period before the grade becomes permanent. He compared the process to the one students take if they were given a C when they feel they deserved a B.

Currently, Moore said, if a student is caught cheating, the professor may choose to fail the student, or to appeal to Judicial Affairs. If the student is found guilty, Judicial Affairs may remove the student from the university or put him or her on strict disciplinary probation.

This grade could serve as a middle ground, said Student Advisory Council member and senior philosophy major Danielle Tomcho. The student may not be expelled, but he or she will not receive the same grade as someone who earned the F in an honest manner.

People do not understand how widespread the problems of cheating and plagiarism are, said Debra Mokaren, Student Advisory Council member and senior geography major.

Jessica Al-Kali, senior speech pathology major, said she has known people in her class to cheat and receive good grades, while others have to work hard to keep up.

“I don’t think it’s right that someone can go online and download a paper,” Al-Kali said.

Students do not get the full worth of their education when they cheat, Brooke Baldeschwiler, junior art history major, said. She said she would agree with the DF grade, because if students cheat, they deserve what grade they earn.

Not all students agree with this view, however.

“I think that everyone deserves a second chance,” junior communications major Karen Rorabeck said.

It is unfair to be marked as a cheater to future educators and employers, she said.

The council hopes the grade would serve more as a deterrent to cheating.

Freshman exploratory major Alex Subak said the grade might discourage students from cheating, or it might just encourage them to find more creative ways to do it.

Students can give their opinion on the proposal by taking the poll at

Contact academics reporter Rachel Abbey at [email protected].