The University's main organic chemistry class suffered at least two incidences of cheating during the past semester, leading to an Honor Committee investigation, according to an email by the class' professor and several students.
Professor Maitland Jones, who teaches CHM 301-301A: Organic Chemistry, said in an email to the class in early January that a student stole one student's second midterm and another student's third midterm. The class usually has three midterms and a final exam.
Jones said in the email that the student, after allegedly stealing the exams, copied them and handed in his or her exam while keeping the stolen exams.
Thus, according to the Jones email, one student's second midterm exam results were never recorded, and another's third midterm exam results were also not recorded.
"The victims of these events took makeups and endured the obvious trauma involved," Jones said in the email to the class.
The alleged cheater sent anonymous notes that were "somewhere between taunting and confessional" to the professor and students whose exams were stolen, the professor wrote in the email.
The Daily Princetonian is not releasing the names of either the alleged cheater or the apparent victims of cheating. In an email to a 'Prince' reporter, Jones confirmed that an incident occured, but declined to comment further.
"There was an incident, as you know," he wrote in the email. "It was the first I have known about in many many years."
According to Eli Goldsmith '04, Chairman of the University Honor Committee, which examines all allegations of cheating, the committee conducted an extremely detailed investigation and hearing in relation to the events in the class.
"Our decision was formally accepted by the Dean of Undergraduate Students [who can issue a punishment,] and though these situations are obviously quite difficult for all involved, we are confident that a fair and honorable verdict was rendered," Goldsmith said in an email to the 'Prince'.
In the first incident, Jones said, the student whose exam was stolen finished the test early and placed the test in an open box on the dais in McCosh 50.
According to the student, the alleged cheater could have stolen the test during that period, as instructors were in and out of the room to answer questions.
The student commented, "I am not angry at the professors but at the anonymous person. He or she took advantage of the whole class."
In the second occurrence, a student said he or she took the third midterm exam early due to a conflict and slipped the completed test under the professor's locked door.
The student noted, "The whole situation and retaking the exam was extremely stressful. I was later told that the issue had been resolved, but it is unfortunate when the University's level of integrity is not met."
The students whose exams were stolen said they feel a more secure system for handing in tests and taking exams before or after the scheduled time is necessary.
As a result of the incidences, Jones is modifying his exam policy. In the future, a student will only be able to take the exam early or late if the professor can make an arrangement that includes handing the exam back directly to the professor or teaching assistant.
Under the old policy, each exam had one official time when the entire class was supposed to take the test.
But if students could not take it then for a good reason — such as an athleti conflict or illness — Professor Jones permitted them to take the same exam within 24 hours or a different exam later.
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