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Low Response to Cheating Survey

By Julie M. Zauzmer, Crimson Staff Writer

The College’s academic integrity survey conducted last year received too few responses to provide productive data to help administrators address cheating on campus, according to Dean of Undergraduate Education Jay M. Harris.

He said that only about 27 percent of students participated in the survey and that most of those were freshmen.

"The response rate was very low," Harris said. "It’s hard to know what to do with it."

Instead of analyzing information gleaned from the survey, the Committee on Academic Integrity, which was convened last year, will focus its discussions on studying honor codes, according to Harris.

"Obviously if we had gotten a 70 percent response rate, we’d be having a different conversation," Harris said.

Megan R. Mitrovich, an alumna of the Graduate School of Education who was Harvard’s point person for the survey last year and now serves on the academic integrity committee, said that—in addition to honor codes—there will be a range of other avenues for promoting integrity on the committee’s agenda. These options might include more rigorous in-class discussions of proper citations and special sessions on integrity for freshmen.

"There is no single solution," she said, adding that the College should implement a variety of "different actions from the time students step onto campus."

The survey, which included different questions for students, teaching fellows, and faculty, was conducted by the Center for Academic Integrity at Clemson University. The Center has used the same module at many other universities.

Students were urged in four separate emails—one signed by Dean of the College Evelynn M. Hammonds—to fill out the online questionnaire. The emails assured students that the survey was completely anonymous and would take about 10 minutes to complete.

But the repeated requests did little to convince most upperclassmen.

Although the sample was too small and too skewed toward younger students to be useful to administrators, committee members said the attitudes revealed by the exercise were illuminating.

"The survey provided a window into campus culture and is a climate

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