Dubai: Abu Dhabi University (ADU) has expelled 34 students for cheating as a result of stricter academic integrity policies, the university's Office of Academic Integrity (OAI) announced yesterday.
The decision to expel the students was taken as a final measure amidst nearly 510 investigations of reported violations of ADUs academic code of ethics, within a student community of more than 4,000.
"These expulsions are clear cases of cheating without a shadow of a doubt," said Jehan Zitawi, acting head of the OAI. "We didn't expel for plagiarism or collusion, these students had either been caught red-handed cheating during exams or allowed other students to sit the exam on their behalf."
Another form of cheating students were expelled for was the submission of fraudulent International English Language Testing System (IELTS) certificates with fake results.
Some students were caught with cheat sheets during examinations while others utilised mobile telephone ear-pieces to communicate with people outside the examination room who dictated the answers.
The expulsions come after almost two years of the ADU tightening its policy on academic misconduct. At the end of 2008, ADU embarked on a rigorous campaign to educate staff and students alike about the university's academic code of ethics and the consequences of its violation. The campaign seems to be working for the majority. Zitawi said only four cases of plagiarism had been reported this year at the campus compared to 120 cases last year.
"These measures are something that all universities with high standards adhere to," said Dr Nabeel Ebrahim, Chancellor of ADU. "We are simply maintaining the standards expected of us, standards worthy of a university of this name."
Zitawi added that some students even confessed citing various forms of pressure for their misconduct.
"The majority of these cheating students are desperate," said Zitawi. "They are under pressure from parents not to fail, or pressure to not loose a scholarship or simple peer pressure from the wrong crowd."
Dr Ebrahim added that the dismissals are unrelated to recent reports by Gulf News of the expulsion of 126 students with poor academic grades.