News

Honor Council keeps busy

The University of Miami Honor Council sanctioned at least 11 students for plagiarism between the spring semester of 2001 and spring 2002, according to Honor Council records provided to the Hurricane.

At least six students were charged with cheating, however, most of the rulings were overturned on appeal.

Citing the Buckley Amendment, the federal statute that protects students’ academic information, UM administrators have said they cannot discuss the cases.

However, William Sandler, Jr., Dean of Students and Secretary of the Honor Council, has said the Council has seen an increase of plagiarism cases in recent years, largely because of the Internet.

All of the students accused of plagiarism plead guilty, according to records. Four of the students accused of cheating plead not guilty.

One of the students charged with plagiarism was Andre Johnson, UM’s famed wide receiver who was named co-MVP at the Rose Bowl.

Johnson, a sophomore, was found guilty for plagiarizing in a sociology paper last fall.

In February, the five-student panel suspended Johnson for a year.

The Council’s Selection and Appeals Committee-then made up of former student government president Jose “Pepi” Diaz, Dr. Patricia Whitely, Vice President of Student Affairs, and Vice Provost Perry Lee Roberts-slashed the ruling to two summer sessions.

The much-publicized Johnson case-which was first reported in the Miami New Times-sent shock waves through the administration and thrust into the spotlight what some faculty members say is the often-rocky relationship between academics and the athletic department.

Another of the student offenders, a freshman, was charged with two counts of plagiarism for buying two papers on the Internet, according to the memos.

The Council voted to expel the student, but the sanction was lowered to a year on appeal.

Three of the other offenders were juniors, three were sophomores, and another was a first-year transfer student, the reports show. Two were seniors. They were all charged with one count of plagiarism.

Some of the Council rulings included three one-year suspensions, three one-semester suspensions and one two-summer session suspensions.

Most punishments were coupled with final disciplinary probations, mandatory attendance of workshops on ethics, as well as writing term papers on plagiarism and cheating.

At least nine of the Council rulings were reduced on appeal. At least two were not appealed.

The mitigated sentences included one-semester suspensions, final disciplinary probations, and summer suspensions.

At least six of the cheating cases involved four juniors, one senior and one sophomore. Four of the students plead not guilty.

The Council voted to expel one of the juniors and the appeals committee upheld it. Another junior and the senior were acquitted. The other two juniors were punished with final disciplinary probation, an ethics workshop and community service.

The Council punished the sophomore with final disciplinary probation and required that he attend an ethics workshop. Upon appeal, the sophomore was given a lesser sentence-disciplinary probation.

Sandler said on Wednesday afternoon that one more Council case was before the appeals committee. At press time, Sandler had not returned phone calls to clarify what type of charges the student had faced.

April 26, 2002

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The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.