Discipline committee reports spike in caseload

CORRECTION TO THIS ARTICLE: A previous version of this article misspelled the name of the senior associate dean for graduate students. It is Blanche E. Staton, not Stanton.

Discipline committee reports spike in caseload

The number of cases brought to the Committee on Discipline — which includes alleged alcohol and drug violations, cheating, and plagiarism — jumped to 189 in the 2012-2013 academic year.

That’s nearly the total from the previous three years combined, 194 cases, according to a slide show presented at the March faculty meeting.

Eight students were suspended or had their degrees deferred, up from two the previous year. None were expelled.

Professor Munther Dahleh, the committee chair, told the faculty that the increase resulted in a demanding schedule for the COD, which met nearly every week.

Members of the committee suggested that the increase in cases was due in part to better reporting of incidents.

Kevin Kraft, the director of student citizenship and a member of the COD, wrote in an email to The Tech that there was greater “awareness about the COD and the Office of Student Citizenship due to outreach efforts.” Still, he added, “there is no way to tell from the data why people are bringing cases forward.”

Another committee member, Blanche E. Staton, agreed: “[W]e do not know definitively the reason for the increase in cases.” Staton is the senior associate dean for graduate students.

Of the 189 cases, 7 alleged sexual misconduct, 51 alleged academic misconduct, and 133 alleged “personal misconduct,” a category that includes alcohol violations, drug violations, and unauthorized access.

(These numbers are not comparable to counts published by The Tech in the past few years. Each “case” here involves one student, who may be accused of multiple violations at once, whereas previously, individual allegations were counted.)

Possible sanctions include a simple letter in the student’s file, probation, removal from housing, alcohol education, suspension, or expulsion.

Leon Lin