If it's exam time, it must mean that kids are settling down and studying for finals. Or, if they are Columbia freshman, they just might be using a review sheet that essentially gives all the answers to a big exam. A few days ago, Columbia blog The Bwog broke news that a professor had given her students much of what would be on the Literature Humanities final in the form of a review sheet. Hilariously, the cheating was discovered because the faculty changed one of the excerpts; while the study guide said the excerpt would be from the epilogue of a novel, the faculty switched it out for an earlier passage. The novel: Dostoyevsky's "Crime and Punishment."

The faculty issued a stern memo to professors:

Dear Colleagues,

There has been an unfortunate breach in Lit Hum final exam security.

Notes identifying the quotations and sketching out the essay questions circulated among students prior to the exam. (We have one copy of these notes.)

Crime and Punishment - the students did not know of the last-minute quotation substitution.

SO, if any of your students identified the passage from Crime and Punishment as occuring in the Epilogue, chances are they had access to these notes. If the student correctly identified all of the other passages, chances are even greater. If they identified the exact Canto in Dante, they are very high indeed.

We will send out recommendations regarding grading later in the day.

Meanwhile, we are trying to determine how widely these answer sheets circulated and would welcome any information you have that may help.

Please refrain from submitting your final grades until we get back to you.


Thank you,
Dr. Deborah A. Martinsen
Associate Dean of the Core Curriculum

Now students must take the exam over or have their grades be determined by other work.

A student told the Columbia Spectator that she didn't realize that the review sheet from her teacher was akin to cheating. "I didn't think it was that big of a deal. In high school, that used to happen, [and] teachers would be like, 'You should study this one chapter,'" Okay, college is different but high school, but we definitely remember some courses where teachers would review what would be on the final.

IvyGate is amused by the students who claim this isn't cheating.