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TCU suspends 12 students accused of cheating via a popular study app

TCU suspended several students it accuses of cheating on tests using a popular study app. Some of the students were able to get their suspensions overturned.
TCU suspended several students it accuses of cheating on tests using a popular study app. Some of the students were able to get their suspensions overturned. Star-Telegram

A dozen TCU students have been suspended during final exams week after being accused of using a popular study app to cheat, according to the school.

TCU spokesperson Holly Ellman said 12 students are "in the process of their appeals." She would not disclose which courses they were taking or how long the cheating went on, citing the school's "active investigation" in an email.

NBC 5 is reporting that students from more than one course were suspended for cheating that happened over several semesters.

Suspended students are "involuntarily separated" from TCU for anywhere from one semester to four years, according to the school's Code of Student Conduct. In the case of suspensions that happen before the end of a semester, students also receive no credit for any assignments after the date of suspension and are not entitled to a refund.

The students are accused of using the study app Quizlet to access the answers to a test currently administered at the school.

Take a quick look at the diversity breakdown of TCU's student body, compared to five universities it has previously listed as comparable institutions.

Quizlet is used as a studying tool by half of all high school students and one-third of all college students in the United States, CNBC reported last summer.

Quizlet users can upload study materials into the app and share them with the public.

"Cheating is not learning, and we will continue to fight against this type of content and activity on our site," a Quizlet spokesperson said via email.

"Beyond our policies, we take technical measures to find and remove test content. For example, we have built a dedicated tool to make it easy for Quizlet’s users to report test banks and cheating, and Quizlet’s support team prioritizes responses to reports of cheating," Quizlet said.

"I've used it personally for a lot of classes. I've never had test questions pop up on it," TCU senior Nico Posinski told FOX 4. "But I think if anybody is doing that they should definitely be punished for that because that is cheating."

Some students are appealing their suspensions and have hired a lawyer, Letty Martinez of the law firm of Varghese Summersett.

In a statement, Martinez said that TCU-employed tutors guided some of the students to the Quizlet study items in question and that a professor re-used questions from previous exams.

Martinez said that the students were unaware that they were seeing questions that would appear on an upcoming test and that the cheating accusation stems from the professor's belief that the students should have told the professor they'd seen the questions on Quizlet.

Some 100 Texas Christian University students and possibly faculty and staff members protested the Trump Administration's decision on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals on campus in Fort Worth on Wednesday.

Stephen English: 817-390-7330, @sbenglish74
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