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UAlbany Cheating Scandal

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A cheating scandal at the University at Albany is raising eyebrows, and neighboring schools are taking note...

The story broke Wednesday in the college newspaper. The Albany Student Press carried the headline "Cashing in on cheating: Student-run operation charges money for completion of online assignments."

The paper says it received and verified information provided by anonymous students that as many as 500 students have been paying other students to do their assignments. Those involved were reportedly enrolled in Professor Peter Ross' Computer Applications in Business course.  The story found its way into the Times Union Friday morning.  The news came as no surprise to UAlbany student and WAMC news intern Matthew Dondiego.

Transactions were said to have been accomplished via social networking - the ASP published the name and Facebook account of the student who allegedly masterminded the scheme. Brook Ballard could not be reached and may have taken his Facebook page down. He told the Times Union he does not charge anyone for completion of the assignments, but explained he offers tutoring to students and help on specific questions if they ask.

The Executive Board of the Albany Student Press responded to a request for comment by email - quote - "Only time will tell if this sort of alleged scandal will tarnish the reputation of the university. It is difficult to tell right now and to speculate would be dangerous. Unfortunately, this sort of activity takes place all across the nation at all sorts of schools... To speculate on the impact now would be premature."

Dr. Maggie Kirwin is the interim provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at the College of St. Rose in Albany : she says cheating is a national problem, not unique to SUNY.   Late last summer, news broke that 125 Harvard students were implicated in a cheating scandal stemming from collaboration on a final exam in a political science class  Harvard now is weighing whether to introduce a student honor code.

Addressing the allegations of student misconduct, UAlbany also responded to a request for comment by email - quote - "The university takes any violation of its student code of conduct very seriously, including academic dishonesty and fraud, and is conducting a thorough investigation.  If warranted, such cases are referred to the university's Office of Conflict Resolution for appropriate disciplinary sanctions."

Brook Ballard, the student reportedly at the heart of UAlbany’s scandal, told the Times Union he is disgusted that the student paper named him as a cheat. He is exploring legal options and expects to be cleared at a school hearing this week.   Professor Ross told the TU he is determining which students cheated. He conceded he doesn't know how far that activity extends.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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