Fresno, California - Eyewitness News Investigates reported cheating cases are on the rise at Fresno State as students countdown the days to finals week. Investigative Reporter Patrick Nelson has the numbers after a public records request. He spoke with university leaders about what the numbers mean and how they're working to hold cheating students accountable.
At this time next week Fresno State students will be taking final exams. We found out in each of the last two years the number of students caught cheating has gone up.
It's that time of year again at Fresno State, graduation and final exams. Unfortunately some students will be caught cheating. We're finding out reports of cheating are on the rise.
University records show the following reported cheating cases for the last three years at Fresno State.
2015/2016 - 161 Reported cases
2016/2017 - 178 Reported cases
2017/2018 - 190 Through March
We sat down with Fresno State Dean of Students Dr. Carolyn Coon to find out more.
"What do you make of these numbers? Especially the fact they are increasing year after year," Investigative Reporter Patrick Nelson asked.
"I don't think there is an increase in the actual cheating. I think it's we've made it easier for faculty to report," said Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Dr. Carolyn Coon. "When faculty submit their grades there is a box next to the grade that asks if the grade was the result of a cheating or plagiarism."
Fresno State leaders aim to hold cheating students accountable.
"Say you are an engineer and you cut corners in your engineering class that's not going to be a good thing when you are building a bridge right? You don't want to be the first one to drive across it if it's the one who cheated their way through school," said Dr. Coon.
"What would you say is the message of the university going forward. What would you like to see happen now that we know about these numbers?," Nelson asked.
"The message needs to be clear it's not tolerated," said Dr. Coon. "Fresno State, we are proud of our students, we are proud of our faculty and we are proud of our degrees."
Fresno State leaders say students caught cheating face being suspended, or even removed from the university. Fresno State hopes students will utilize resources on campus to pass their upcoming final exams with integrity.