Office of the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Message Archive

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

 

Description: Message From The Provost - Baruch College

Outcome of Fact-Finding Investigation of EMS FSA Cheating Allegations

To: Baruch College Community

From: John Brenkman, Interim Provost
            and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

As you are probably aware, there have been several media reports over the past few months about allegations of cheating in the Zicklin School’s Executive Master of Science program in Financial Statement Analysis (EMS FSA). These media stories also reported unsubstantiated allegations that Professor Aloke Ghosh, the Academic Director of the EMS FSA, had allowed and even suborned cheating. I asked a senior faculty member from outside Zicklin, Professor Sam Johnson, to conduct a thorough fact-finding of the allegations; he is the chair of the Psychology Department and a former Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students with considerable experience in matters of academic integrity. Based on his findings, there is no evidence that Professor Ghosh permitted or tolerated cheating.

It is especially troubling that a professor’s reputation was impugned in news reports before the College’s own review of the allegations could be carried out. Now that that process has been completed, I want to report on the sequence of events in the EMS FSA in 2011-2012:

In the Fall trimester 2011, a student reported to Professor Ghosh that cheating had taken place during an exam. Professor Ghosh interviewed several students, some of whom admitted to cheating. The 2011-2012 cohort had not undergone the normal orientation process because of Hurricane Irene, so Professor Ghosh convened a special retreat in December during which an hour-long presentation on academic integrity was made. Students signed a code of conduct, and instructors in the program were directed to implement various procedures to guard against cheating. In the second trimester Professor Ghosh discovered an instance of cheating and reported the student to the Dean of Students Office; the student acknowledged a violation of academic integrity and withdrew from the program.

At the conclusion of the second trimester, four students made the allegations regarding Professor Ghosh. A preliminary fact-finding suggested that the allegations were unfounded. Due to the seriousness of the charges, I asked Professor Johnson to undertake an independent fact-finding, and there is no evidence that Professor Ghosh permitted, encouraged, or aided student cheating. On the contrary, he took systematic efforts to educate the cohort regarding academic integrity, to reduce the opportunities for cheating, and to discipline anyone who violated the policy.

The allegations made by the four students were linked by the media stories to the investigation that the College and the University undertook a year ago of three executive programs that shared a single Administrative Director, who was accused of improperly changing grades and forging change-of-grade forms. While the EMS FSA is one of those three programs, it should be stressed that none of the cases of current students or graduates with questionable transcripts came from EMS FSA. In fact, the original investigation was launched in part after the discovery that the signatures of Professor Ghosh and another administrator had been forged.

The Administration is committed to keeping the Baruch community updated on the status of investigations and changes being made within the Zicklin Executive Programs to ensure their quality, integrity, and academic value. We thank Professor Ghosh for his patience during this period and look forward to his continued work in Zicklin.

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