In the wake of backlash from students and faculty, the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College has dropped all charges against a group of 17 students accused of cheating on their remote tests.
The charges were based on online activity data recorded on Canvas — a popular course management system used by schools for online learning.
The accused students reportedly accessed course materials while taking a closed-book exam.
Dartmouth had dismissed seven charges after a few students argued that instructors had mistaken Canvas activity for cheating. However, 10 more still faced possible discipline, including suspension.
The school’s decision was followed by on-campus protests and letters of concern from faculty and student organizations who believed that these students were shouldering the responsibility for a faulty online proctoring tool.
VICTORY! @Dartmouth medical students investigated for electronic cheating have been exonerated after FIRE and the @EFF challenged the accusations and demanded that accused students have due process. FIRE’s @1AMorey reports the developments:https://t.co/riE5R7bdF5
— FIRE (@TheFIREorg) June 10, 2021
Dean of the medical school Duane A. Compton has apologized to students and dismissed all honor code charges. The school will not record any of the charges or discipline on the students’ records.
The apology comes in the aftermath of reports stating the school coerced students into pleading guilty. First-year student Sirey Zhang said that the event was one of the “most terrifying, isolating experiences” of his life.
Like many other universities across the country, Dartmouth has taken a step back to reexamine the privacy and accessibility concerns raised by remote proctoring tools.
It joins a growing list of universities severing ties with a variety of proctoring software after students and faculty have demanded colleges discontinue the services.
Foundation for Individual Rights in Education Program Officer Program Officer Alex Morey told the New York Post, “Dartmouth’s fresh commitment to ‘rebuilding trust’ among the students it unfairly accused in this case should start with promising a fair process to all future students.”