The University of Minnesota says students with cheating violations on their records will be able to have them expunged if they sign up for an on-campus program on integrity.
The program requires offending students to attend a two-hour meeting with staff members, in which they will “discuss the impact of the scholastic dishonesty and then agree on an educational opportunity the student can participate in to demonstrate understanding of academic integrity.” After attending the meeting, administrators will expunge the cheating incident from the student’s record.
Jessica Kuecker Grotjohn, the assistant director of the Office of Community Standards says, “The thought behind [the program] is if a student engages in behavior that is in violation with our policy, we want them to be able to understand the impact of that.”
She says they want their students to learn and be accountable, adding, we want them to walk away being a better person.
Some academics argue that a path to erasure is the best approach for dealing with issues of academic dishonesty. One, Jason Stephens, a University of Auckland professor who researches academic cheating, argues that students who are caught cheating focus on their punishment rather than on why they made the decision to cheat. He believes all institutions should have a ‘second chance program.”
He admits cheating is a widespread problem at all levels of education and has been for decades. He thinks programs like the one being offered at the University of Minnesota have the best chance to create what he calls ‘cultures of integrity.”