Section: News

College clarifies language for pending AIB hearings to avoid ‘loophole’

Last year, when a student withdrew from Kenyon before their academic infraction hearing, the student did not face any consequences and they did not receive a grade in the class, even though they might have violated Kenyon’s academic standards, according to Sriya Chadalavada ’19, student chair of the Committee of Academic Standards (CAS), who spoke at the Student Council meeting two weeks ago.

CAS found this problematic.

“It was kind of a loophole for them to get out of having some sort of backlash for maybe having committed an academic infraction,” Chadalavada said at the meeting.

CAS is addressing this issue by changing how a pending Academic  Infractions Board (AIB) hearing will appear on a student’s transcript if they withdraw from Kenyon before they appear in front of the AIB, which consists of faculty and students. Now, if this happens, the words “institutional action pending” will appear on the transcript, along with the letters “NG,” which stand for “No Grade,” where the student’s grade would normally appear, according to  the head of CAS and Professor of English Jesse Matz and Chadalavada. The College hopes this will prompt other institutions to contact Kenyon if the student decides to apply somewhere else.

“It’s assumed that most colleges or universities would find that concerning and they would call Kenyon to find out what that was about,” Chadalavada said.

Chadalavada said students who are affected by this policy change can come back to Kenyon after they withdraw for the AIB to issue a ruling.

Chadalavada said the student who withdrew from Kenyon last year is coming back to Kenyon to carry out their hearing at the Student Council meeting two weeks ago. In an interview with the Collegian, Chadalavada said she would not talk specifically about the student because she was on the AIB, which keeps academic infraction hearings confidential. Matz added that the new language would mirror the language used for other conduct hearings, such as Title IX hearings and issues that appear in front of the Judicial Board.

Wade Powell, professor of biology and faculty chair of the AIB, said the most common academic infractions at Kenyon are due to either plagiarism or cheating on take-home exams. Determining whether or not a student has committed an academic infraction is a multi-step process: It starts with the student’s professor going to the department chair, who then determines whether or not the student failed to uphold Kenyon’s academic standards. The case is either settled within the department or taken to the AIB. The AIB’s final decision is approved by Jeff Bowman, the associate provost.

CAS is also considering adding an extra warning before students are put on academic probation, along with creating a detailed list of what qualifies a student for priority registration, which is when a student gets to register early for certain medical or academic reasons. Before this clarification, they did not have clear guidelines for who might qualify for priority registration, according to Chadalavada.

CAS hopes these changes will help clarify the policies surrounding academic standards and practices for students, especially when it comes to academic infractions. “A lot of graduates at Kenyon go on to academia or grad school, and I think that if we don’t encourage academic integrity at Kenyon, then it reflects badly on the Kenyon community,” Chadalavada said.


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