AU Looking at Grade Complaints

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn University officials announced on Thursday they are investigating a complaint that an Auburn professor "gave grades" to student athletes for courses that required little work while the New York Times did a report on the subject involving an AU sociology professor.

AU officials said an investigation is being done by the office of provost on the subject.

On Thursday evening, just hours after the university released a statement on the subject, the New York Times posted an article on its website concerning Auburn athletes and other students taking sociology courses from a professor who was teaching an extremely heavy course load. The following is a link to that article:

New York Times Article

AU provost Dr. John Heilman issued this statement on Thursday afternoon:

"Academic integrity is at the foundation of every university. At Auburn, we expect concerns related to academics to be reported through deans and department heads, but we also maintain an anonymous on-line system called Ethicspoint. In May, a complaint was made through the Ethicspoint system alleging that a single professor gave grades to student athletes for courses that required little or no work.

"The office of the Provost takes any concern related to academic processes at the university seriously. As a result, on June 5, I appointed a committee to investigate the anonymous claim. The work of the committee is not complete given the number of personal interviews that must be conducted.

"The Committee will issue a report upon the completion of its work, and that report will be made public. Until that time, our office will have no comment on the investigation. I can assure you as provost that academic misconduct will not be tolerated at Auburn University."

Auburn interim president Dr. Ed Richardson issued this statement:

"Over the past two years, Auburn has shown a willingness to address serious issues in a very open and direct manner. The provost has made me aware of a complaint and related investigation concerning grades assigned to student athletes.

"I am confident that the provost will perform a thorough investigation, and upon completion of that work we will make the results of that investigation public. I also want to make clear that in the event that any academic misconduct is confirmed, we will take appropriate action to insure that Auburn University's strong academic reputation is not damaged. Auburn has been, and is, fortunate to have many dedicated instructors who, like us, will not tolerate academic misconduct.

"I want to assure everyone associated with Auburn that upon completion of the investigation we will deal with this issue as we have dealt with other challenges--directly and openly."

Auburn athletic department officials had no comment on the matter and referred questions on the subject to the president's office.

Phillip Marshall Report for Huntsville Times



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