Following an investigation, the Associated Students of Central Oregon Community College member reported to have cheated for an exam was cleared by COCC officials, according to a Sept. 15 statement from the Director of Student Life and a Sept. 26 statement from ASCOCC.
Kyder Olsen was accused of cheating by the 2010-11 ASCOCC council during a meeting Aug. 24.
She was elected to the 2011-12 council last spring while the former council served on the student government until fall term.
The former council crafted the accusation into a resolution immediately after 2011-12. Council Candidate Maggie Skyler brought a Facebook post by Olsen to the council’s attention. The post read: “Is anyone good at analyzing poems? If so please contact me, I will make you dinner if you do this for me!”
Olsen posted this announcement after being assigned a take home final for a spring term poetry course at COCC. said Olsen about responses to her post such as “Dang, now I wish I paid better attention during poetry in English” and “lol.”
Although the former ASCOCC council demanded to assemble an advisory and hearings board to investigate the incident in its resolution, the faculty has the primary responsibility and authority in dealing with issues of academic dishonesty, according to COCC’s policy on student rights and responsibilities.
Director of Student Life Gordon Price investigated the incident with the participation of Olsen and her instructor and said in his statement, “the instructor found no evidence supporting the claim and as such, I find that there is no cause to action in regards to the resolution put forth by the 2010-11 ASCOCC Council.”
According to Olsen, “[My teacher] didn’t even know about it … but when I told him the story he just laughed.”
Olsen called ASCOCC Advisor Taran Underdal after her Facebook post became an issue with the former council. Underdal stated that the actions taken by the council were not in accordance with the ASCOCC constitution or college policy.
“I think it’s unfortunate that greater concern for the student’s privacy and college policy wasn’t followed,” said Underdal. “The [former] council itself acted in a very unfortunate manner.”
COCC’s policies on student rights and responsibilities are established in order to protect the rights of all students and ensure that the accused party has a chance to defend themselves before any action is taken. According to ASCOCC’s Sept. 26 statement, council members will do their “best to ensure that this policy is strictly adhered to in the future.”
Despite the incident, the other current council members stand behind Olsen, according to their statement.
“With technology today, things are going to get misconstrued over the internet,” said ASCOCC Fiscal and Operations Coordinator Michael Biermann. “An important value was learned after all of this.”
Tobey Veenstra may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org