Eighteen midshipmen in the U.S. Naval Academy have been expelled following an investigation into allegations of cheating. Of the 650 midshipmen who took an online physics exam last year, 105 were investigated for using “unauthorized sources,” the Naval Academy said in a statement. Eighty-two of the accused midshipmen have resigned or been expelled. Four were found not to have violated honor principles, while another is still awaiting adjudication.
Unprecedented Challenges, Unprecedented Allegations
The Naval Academy has strict honor principles that all midshipmen must follow. The impact of this cheating scandal will almost certainly influence the future military careers of everyone involved. This is far from the first cheating scandal at the Naval Academy – in 1994, an investigation implicated about 125 midshipmen who had knowledge of answers to an engineering test. The difference this time? COVID-19.
The pandemic upended virtually every aspect of modern life. Educators were forced to adapt their lessons and assessment techniques overnight. While locked-down browsers and other anti-cheating applications are helpful tools, in theory, they often gloss over important nuances and limitations of individual test-takers.
Technical Limitations, Discrimination, and Other Concerns
Online test monitoring tools are far from perfect. Low-income students are sometimes flagged for cheating because of their unstable WIFI signals. Students with disabilities often find the software they need to complete tests is blocked by anti-cheating applications. When the rights of students aren't at the center of any new educational initiative, disadvantaged students are often the first to pay the price.
Nobody should be forced to sacrifice their future because of technical glitches or computer errors. Midshipmen deserve the best possible chance at fair outcomes. Given the unique circumstances under which the alleged cheating took place, the accused students deserve a chance to clear their names and continue their studies and service to our country.
Protect Your Rights
Students have a right to their education, even during unprecedented times. If you or someone you know has been accused of academic misconduct while attending remote classes, attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm can help. With his unparalleled experience defending students against accusations of academic misconduct across the United States, you'll want Joseph D. Lento in your corner. Call the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 or contact us to schedule a private consultation today.