Re-posted by Nicholas Stix
I thank the old friend who sent me this article, writing that a correspondent "has commented on the systematically obnoxious behavior of Saudi students he's encountered in the library at Montana State U in Bozeman."
"Organized," "belligerent cheaters" overwhelm Tech summer classes
By Hunter Pauli and Renata Birkenbuel
For the Independent Record Sep 30, 2016
BUTTE -- A group of "organized," "belligerent cheaters" overwhelmed several classes at Montana Tech this summer.
The spate of academic dishonesty, which resulted in the expulsion of 15 students, appears to have been far more systematic and widespread than previously reported.
Montana Tech professors and proctors were confronted by dozens of out-of-state [?!] Middle Eastern students blatantly cheating through a variety of methods, including smuggled cell phones, earpieces, fake calculators, smart watches, hand signals, mass bathroom breaks, fake
IDs, old exam copies and at least one diversionary fake fainting episode, according to documents attached to a Faculty Senate report.
The report, authored by Montana Tech professors and proctors, details a summer-long escalation of cheating and resultant crackdowns culminating in students intimidating and threatening faculty members teaching general engineering courses, which were populated at up to 10 times their typical class size. The documents, obtained by The Montana Standard, were not published online on the senate's web site.
General engineering lab director Matt Egloff said the situation escalated as cheaters became aggressive when their academic dishonesty was exposed throughout the summer.
“Faculty and staff proctoring these tests were outnumbered about 10:1 by these belligerent cheaters for all of these tests. Most of the proctors and faculty are old, small, etc. — in other words not people trained to handle a fight with a single 20-year-old let alone 100 of them. Had these angry belligerent cheaters decided to riot, we would have been overwhelmed,” Egloff said in the report.
Summer enrollment for out-of-state undergraduate students grew this summer by 122 percent, with 130 students compared to last summer’s 59, according to the Montana University System’s summer 2016 enrollment report.
In terms of enrollment, “It was a very good summer,” Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Doug Abbott said.
Abbott said his office received reports of academic dishonesty concerning 46 students this summer. Some students were caught multiple times, with 62 individual reported cases of cheating. The faculty senate report lists dozens more cases. Montana Tech’s academic dishonesty policy does not state how many infractions result in expulsion, but Abbott said he maintains a two-strike policy.
Six courses were named in the report as affected by cheating, most of them engineering prerequisites. According to the registrar’s office, summer enrollment for each of those 3-credit courses added up to 486 seats.
With the cost of nonresident summer tuition for three credits $2,457 a head, Montana Tech counted around $1.2 million in tuition from the six courses highlighted for cheating this summer. Abbott said the dishonest students, including those expelled, were not reimbursed.
While instructors clarified in the Faculty Senate report that not all students in the summer general engineering courses cheated, most did. [Wouldn't want to stereotype, would we? Besides, the ones who didn't cheat probably weren't Arab Moslems.] The final course average of the 56 students in Nathan Huft’s general engineering 201 statics class was 37 percent, an F grade, despite extra credit for bonus questions, attendance quizzes and exam corrections. Only about 10 percent passed.
Cheating was so rampant that Huft and other instructors were unable to keep track of every instance. By finals week the problem was still extreme.
Faculty gave final exams like they were the high security test that licenses professional engineers, completely controlling the testing environment. As many faculty as could be found were brought in to proctor final exams for the general engineering classes.
Egloff’s requests to hold exams for larger classes in Tech’s gym and station police on campus during finals week were denied by administrators.
“I did not think it was necessary nor a good idea to have uniformed police occupy our campus,” Abbott said in an email to the Standard. “When is it a good idea to have uniformed police officers occupy a campus?”
[Nowadays? Every day!]
Police had to show up anyway after students ejected for cheating began screaming at instructors, calling them racist and filming them with their phones.
Female employees were singled out for verbal harassment, and one female student was tripped as she walked through a large group of ejected students, according to the report.
The report said ejected students mobbed instructors. Security guards extricated some instructors and locked others inside the engineering building after shoving the mob out the door.
One proctor received threatening messages on his phone after the tests.
“Many faculty and staff expressed concern for their personal safety during and after these classes,” Egloff said in the report.
“Bottom line: Faculty, staff, and students were put in serious danger all summer long from this group of belligerent cheaters,” the report ended.
Provost Abbott declined to disclose what schools the students came from, citing student privacy concerns, and said that the schools weren’t informed of the cheating.
Evidence points to the students coming from Idaho State University, including suspicious doctor’s notes from Pocatello, an email allegedly sent out to faculty, and a cheating scandal at ISU involving Middle Eastern students as reported by the New York Times in March.
ISU’s associate dean of science and engineering David Rodgers told the Times 80 to 90 percent of cheating reported in recent semesters in his department involved the university’s roughly 1,500 foreign students, of whom Saudis and Kuwaitis make up 77 percent.
If any of Montana Tech’s cheaters did come from Pocatello, Idaho State University isn’t rushing to claim them.
“Idaho State University will not comment on alleged infractions committed by former students at other colleges and universities that are unrelated to our institution,” said associate vice president of marketing and communications for ISU Stuart Summers in a statement.
[The liar. Of course, they're related!]
Many of Idaho State’s Saudi students study under the same Saudi government program as the 36 Montana Tech students implicated in a bribery and grade-changing scandal in 2012. Those students paid tuition courtesy of the $6 billion King Abdullah Scholarship Program, which
sponsors up to 90 percent of Saudi students studying abroad.
The number of Saudi students studying at American universities has grown sharply under the program, but falling oil prices have the Kingdom restricting scholarships to top schools, as reported by Moody’s Investor’s Services in February. Montana Tech and Idaho State may lose a lucrative source of tuition dollars, but the Saudi embassy has stayed mum on the issue.
[God forbid, they should forgo taking money for cheating Moslem thugs, and instead admit gifted, white American students!]
Whether Montana Tech finds itself in this problem again, Faculty Senate has dug in, meeting on a weekly basis to decide best how to revise the “academic dishonesty” policy so it best reflects instructor and student needs.
Egloff called the summer overwhelming, but was proud the faculty kept cheaters from getting away with it.
“It was ugly, but it was a success,” Egloff said. “Let’s make it not ugly next time.”