At the faculty meeting on February 20, the MIT Committee on Discipline (CoD) gave its annual report for 2011-2012, presented by former chair Prof. Robert P. Redwine.
See charts on page 15 for details.
There was an increase in activity almost across the board, part of which Redwine attributed to more issues coming to the attention of the CoD. Hearings increased to 13, with 73 students involved in 64 reported incidents — up from 5 hearings and 30 reported incidents last year.
The presentation highlighted two main issues and concerns: greater documentation of academic misconduct; and increasing “serious personal misconduct,” including sexual misconduct, due to increased reporting of such concerns.
One of the main increases was in harassment (including sexual misconduct), which rose to 18 allegations from 5 last year. The increase can be possibly attributed to an increase in victims “more willing to report it and move forward with the case instead of just trying to forget it,” Redwine said. He added that the Division of Student Life and Medical have been increasing counseling and information services for people who think they’ve been a victim of sexual misconduct, and that Medical staff have seen more victims willing to move forward with a CoD case, even if they aren’t willing to pursue a criminal investigation.
Cheating also saw an apparent increase, up to 17 allegations this year from 4 last year. Redwine says that he doesn’t think there’s any evidence that there is more cheating, but rather that faculty “are more knowledgeable about options available to them, and more willing to come to the office to deal with it rather than dealing with it themselves.” Redwine added that central documentation of cheating allows the CoD to see patterns of cheating. Discipline, however, is up to the discretion of the faculty member: they can do anything ranging from an informal letter on file to a full CoD hearing.
The report also mentioned 16 allegations of “alcohol violations,” which Redwine said was any situation in which alcohol was involved, which includes when alcohol is combined with other incidents, such as harassment.
The report concluded with the mention of a review of the rules and regulations of the CoD, which is currently underway with recommendations to be brought forward this semester. “The rules and regulations of the CoD is a fairly long document written over time by different people under different circumstances. It hasn’t been looked at as a whole in a while, and some ground rules have changed a bit,” said Redwine, mentioning that Title IX “interpretations” have given universities more responsibility in handling cases like alleged sexual misconduct.