Most high schools and colleges prohibit bribery as part of their conduct codes. Generally, students and professors know a bribe when they see one and that it's against the rules. What's less known is the punishment for bribery, both for students who attempt to bribe instructors and instructors who solicit bribes from students. Trying to get better grades using bribery could land you in deep trouble with either your university or law enforcement.
Professor Who Solicited Bribes
A recent case of bribery and academic misconduct unfolded at Baltimore City Community College (BCCC). A professor at BCCC, Edward Ennels, pleaded guilty to a bribery scheme at the college and was sentenced to one year of prison, probation, and restitution by Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh.
Ennels had taught at BCCC for 15 years and used multiple aliases to solicit bribes from students for higher grades. He would pose as another student and ask students for $300 to complete all course assignments, guaranteeing an A in the class. He also offered $250 for a B and $150 for a C. Ennels solicited as much as $500 per course for higher-level courses. He also sold access codes for course materials for $90 each by encouraging other faculty members not to get access codes from the college library but from a “private vendor” who ended up being Ennels with a PayPal account.
When approached, many students declined Ennels's offer, but nine accepted, earning him $2,815 in bribes between June and December 2020. One student reported the scheme, and administrators at BCCC contacted law enforcement to investigate further.
Can Bribery Get You Dismissed from a University?
When a faculty or staff member at a college or university attempts bribery, the institution they work for can involve law enforcement, as with the Edward Ennels case. Can a university call the police on a student for attempting to bribe an instructor for a higher grade?
Technically, a university could press charges against a student for this behavior, especially if the student is not a minor. In most states, bribery is illegal in certain forms and can lead to jail time. Whether or not a student ends up with an arrest depends on the university and state laws.
If a college or university doesn't involve the local police in a student bribery case, it will almost certainly take disciplinary action on its own. Offering a bribe to an instructor may be enough to dismiss a student at most universities. At others, it could lead to suspension, especially if there may be mitigating factors. Students should always read their university's code of conduct, as it will be the most likely place to find the school's policy on bribery if there is one.
Bribery and Misconduct
If you face bribery charges, whether academic or not, from your university, a specialized student defense attorney can help you through the process. Contact attorney Joseph D. Lento and Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to protect your rights to your education.