If you are from IITM, you’ll probably know about this. I only know of it from smail. Some fifteen people have been punished by what is called the Discipline and Student Welfare Sub-committee of IITM’s Senate.
13 of these people were given ‘W’ grades for marking attendance for somebody else. The other two morons were given ‘U’ grades for copying in some examination. One of these two idiots is not only a repeat offender, but has also gotten caught more than once. So, not only is he stupid enough to think that copying in an examination is the way to do it, he’s also stupid enough to get caught. Twice. Makes you want to ask how on Earth he got into IITM, doesn’t it?
Normally in these situations, as is what usually happens with most things in India, the offenders are told to apologize, sometimes in writing, and told very nicely never to do this again, and sent away with no record of any of it. Most people with a bent to cheat pick up on the fact that the administration will never do anything. This, it seems to me, is a change for the better… As long as the fellows who are being punished were allowed to defend themselves.
I don’t, however, like this ‘ ‘W’ for mischief relating to attendance, ‘U’ for mischief in an examination’ policy. It sounds too much like ‘An eye for an eye’ for my liking. Getting a W means that you have to sit through classes of the course again; Getting a U means that you only have to write the exam again. I don’t think the fact that a W goes (semantically) with attendance, and a U with performance in the exam makes this fair punishment. Copying is a much more serious offence than proxy attendance.
Then, of course, there’s the matter of why there’s an attendance rule in the first place. If the student can do better on his own, where’s the harm in letting him? The problem is that most professors don’t want to fail students. Sometimes because they think it is too harsh. Sometimes, perhaps, because just passing everybody is far easier than to fail someone and have to defend your decision. They’d rather do something else with their time. And, therefore, there’s the risk that students who know nothing will get through courses without having attended classes, or learning anything.
The solution would’ve been to ask professors to take teaching and evaluation more seriously. Enforcing an attendance rule is a stupid way of handling the problem.