Student Government Statement on Mass Breach of Exams Policy & IEU Code of Ethical Conduct 


Over the past few weeks, a number of exams have been flagged due to a number of reasons, where an unusually large number of students have been accused of acting outside the bounds of their duties as students of academic integrity. These include following each of the exam’s policies and the IEU Code of Ethical Conduct. The issues mainly have been surrounding the exams of Cost Accounting, Mathematics for Management, and Programming courses taken by first-year BBA and dual-BBA students. 

The way in which information was amassed by the university was by checking the logs of what the students were accessing through the university’s internet connection during the time of exams. The university particularly only looked to see whether ChatGPT or WhatsApp Web were open during the time, including if a plug-in was being used at the same time as Lockdown Browser. If these sites were seen to be accessed, then students received a letter informing them of their case. Based on some information dispersed by the BBA office towards class representatives, there will be a review of the cases to specifically check with WhatsApp, where active traffic was checked. Importantly, the content of the messages remains encrypted and thus is not visible to the university. Most of these reviews have already been sent out and few remain to be communicated.

Failing an exam for being caught cheating is naturally a disconcerting experience, especially if one feels that one failed the course unjustly. Given the scale of students failing, many class representatives have reached out to the Student Government to ask for a mediating and advocating voice for the students impacted. 

Next Steps 

The Student Government has recommended to the university’s administration to take a number of steps to help address this current issue in the best way possible and to prevent such events from unfolding on such a scale again. Many of these have already gone into effect.

  • Most students were originally asked to retake the course in its entirety again next semester. We suggested that this not be applied to all cases: as such, students who had prohibited sites open but without traffic will be permitted to sit the retake. On the other hand, students with open sites and traffic will have to retake the course, while students with traffic before exam-begin, or shortly after submission, will not be penalised.
  • Since there were differences in accusations across sections and degrees for the same course, we are emphasizing the need for standardized testing, and consequently, standardized teaching, to avoid unfair differences. 
  • We see the burden of proof to lie with the university given the number of cases that were identified. We recommended that administrators review each and every case on their side before proceeding. As such, all cases are automatically being reviewed – not just those that appealed – in order to protect the legitimate rights of students and act against unethical academic practices. 
  • We also suggested that exams be prepared in a better way to truly assess the quality of knowledge. Students shouldn’t consider the option to cheat in the first place, let alone have the opportunity to do so. Our university is one of dynamism and innovation, and that includes pushing educational models for the better. Importantly, the instruments used in exams should also ensure fair and equal conditions for all students. 
  • Given the intricacies involved, we have recommended that the Student Government be more closely involved with the process of preparing exam policies in the incoming academic year. This includes a policy to be developed on the use of AI for academic purposes.  

Addressing additional questions: 

  • What counts as grounds for failing the exam or course? 

Firstly, while using Lockdown Browser, some students used a third-party plug-in that allowed them to communicate with other students or use AI. In cases where Lockdown Browser was not used to proctor the exam, having things open such as WhatsApp in the background at the same time as the exam also goes against your duties to perform your exams in an integral manner. 

  • Legality and Privacy Concerns

Additionally, while we were initially concerned that some of the mediums being used to prove that a student conducted their exam unfaithfully were infringing on students’ legal rights to privacy, we were able to verify that the proofs being obtained are in full compliance with the law and do not collect any unwarranted data. The actual content of your actions via the internet, for example, the content of text messages, cannot be seen. 

  • False Accusations 

Moreover, while many students being accused of not acting in accordance with the exams’ policies and the IEU Code of Ethical Conduct are being identified correctly, some are not. For instance, students told they were cheating for using WhatsApp at a given time frame, even though the exam only started a few minutes later, are not considered violations. These will be disqualified by the administration as cases in due process. Since all cases are being reviewed by the administration with the new information regardless of an appeal, the falsely identified cases should be rectified without your input. 

We would like to take this opportunity to remind students that it is their responsibility to prepare for an exam accordingly, including closing all tabs on their computer that they won’t be needing during their exam before the exam time starts. It is the same concept as having your phone on you during an exam – even if you don’t use it – you know you shouldn’t have it, and it is your responsibility to put it away ahead of time. The integrity of our academic assessments is what gives our degree value, and it is in our interest to act in accordance with the principles of academic honesty. Lastly, unethical academic behaviour not only damages the reputation of the student body but also unfairly undermines the work of the students respecting the outlined academic standards of integrity. 

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