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A number of groups sprung up on Facebook in support of Chris Avenir, unsurprisingly.  (Source: Jason Mick/DailyTech)
School decides not to take away student's freedom to obtain a college education

Early this month news broke of a wild expulsion hearing at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada.  While students normally are expelled for indiscreetly copying their friends solutions during an exam, plagiarizing others work, or other such gaffs the Ryerson student, Chris Avenir a first year chemical engineering student, was just trying to engage in what he thought was a beneficial and harmless student practice -- creating a study group.

Avenir created a group on Facebook known as "Dungeons/Mastering Chemistry Solutions," named after the study room nicknamed "The Dungeon."  The group allowed students to share advice on homework questions, exchange questions from past tests, and speculate on what might be asked on upcoming tests.  At its maximum, the group helped 147 students.

Soon, however, Avenir's chemistry professor caught onto Avenir's efforts to help his fellow students and they weren't happy.  They not only changed Avenir's grade from a B to an F, but also recommended him for expulsion, putting him up on 147 counts of academic misconduct.

Fortunately, justice prevailed and Ryerson's academic conduct committee ruled last Tuesday not to expel Avenir.  They informed the 18-year-old that while he would not be expelled, he would receive a zero failing grade on the assignment portion of the class, as per the professor's discretion.  The assignment portion was worth ten percent of the total grade, but Avenir still passed the class easily.

Avenir could not be reached for comment, but may decide to appeal the decision as per the school's rules if he feels the failing assignment grade was unfair.  Overnight, Avenir became a celebrity and a poster child for the debate over the legitimacy of online study groups.  Advocates say there is no difference between online groups and school-sponsored tutoring programs, which often have old copies of tests, and will assist students in solving homework problems.  Critics state that helping students access materials not given by the professor or solve problems is cheating, plain and simple.

Avenir's advocates still aren't satisfied with the ruling, but appreciate that it marks a victory for their views.  Says Nora Loreto, president of the Ryerson Students' Union, "Chris in our view is still innocent, so it is still too bad that he got zero for that 10 percent.  But considering we were facing expulsion I think this is a victory, certainly a broader victory for the students at Ryerson."

As per the ruling part of Avenir's punishment includes mandatory attendance in a academic misconduct workshop.

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RE: Cheating?
By Nik00117 on 3/23/2008 3:49:51 PM , Rating: 2
At my job if you thought you could do the work by yourself we'd all laugh our assess off at you.

We have to count, balance, over 20 registers in a night, this includes everyform of payment ranging from credit/debit, in store credit, gift cards, mercadise cards, cash, and checks. We also have to balance western union transcations along with money orders.

After doing this for 20 registers we then have to count the safe, and double check it, then prepare the depoist for the bank.

This is just closing, during the day shift we account for the different sub companies which work for us, as well as cashing checks, exchanging euros, sending western unions, and selling coupons.

For a entire day, we need anywhere from 6-9 individuals. Its a fact of life.

Two united is stronger then 3 divided.

RE: Cheating?
By mindless1 on 3/23/2008 8:04:43 PM , Rating: 2
BUT, what any one person is doing they have to be able to do without constantly dragging someone else over to babysit, after the initial training period.

I never suggested people should isolate themselves at a job or even life in general. The point is that everyone is not supposed to receive the same good grade when all are not as competent.

RE: Cheating?
By FITCamaro on 3/24/2008 9:53:31 AM , Rating: 2
Nor do they unless they actually cheat on the test. This was to provide homework help. While yes probably some just copied answers, that would be reflected on the test.

In several of my classes, I used my girlfriends notes to study from since she'd already taken the class and had very good notes. Should I have just ignored that fact and not used them as a resource?

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