Cheating is not unheard of on university campuses. But cheating on an open-book, take-home exam in a pass-fail course seems odd, and all the more so in a course about ethics.
Yet Columbiaâ€™s Graduate School of Journalism is looking into whether students may have cheated on the final exam in just such a course, â€œCritical Issues in Journalism.â€ According to the schoolâ€™s Web site, the course â€œexplores the social role of journalism and the journalist from legal, historical, ethical, and economic perspectives,â€ with a focus on ethics.
Nicholas Lemann, dean of the journalism school, said that students had to sign on to a Columbia Web site to gain access to the exam, and that once they did, had 90 minutes to write a couple of essays. But he was unwilling to detail how the cheating might have occurred.
Mr. Lemann said that no student had been formally accused of any violation, but that the issue had become â€œTopic Aâ€ at the school.
The situation was reported yesterday by RadarOnline.com.
The course was taught by Samuel G. Freedman, a professor of journalism at the school who also contributes columns on education and religion to The New York Times. Mr. Freedman confirmed yesterday evening that â€œthere are allegations of cheating.â€