Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Letter to Higher Learning Commission

I am trying to figure out if The Higher Learning Commission is serious about enforcing its criteria for accreditation, so I sent a letter to K.L. Solinski, the Commission's Vice President for Legal and Governmental Affairs. I asked Ms. Solinski a number of questions so that I can obtain an understanding of just how serious they are when it comes to accrediting a university that awards degrees to cheating students and then lies about its relevant policies.

Here's a little background:

On February 28, 2006 K.L Solinski wrote to Ohio University President McDavis asking him to explain among other things, "how it [Ohio University] handles allegations of plagiarism within its community."

On July 21, 2006 John Burns, former Ohio University Director of Legal Affairs, responded to the Ms. Solinski with a letter and a copy of the letter that was sent to cheating students.

On September 18, 2006 Ms. Soliski wrote to me stating that John Burns "responded with a thorough explanation," and she concluded the inquiry into my complaint.

About a year later, I discovered that, contrary to the procedure outlined by John Burns, Ohio University was not actually requiring students to re-write plagiarized sections. On March 21, 2008 I wrote another complaint letter to The Higher Learning Commission about this. My letter went unanswered.

On April 9, 2009, I wrote to President McDavis asking him to hold accountable the professors who violated his re-write policy. I copied K.L Solinski on the letter.

On May 4, 2009, the Commission acknowledged "potential accreditation issues."

On June 17, 2009 John Biancamano, Ohio University Director of Legal Affairs, wrote to me and stated that there was "no basis for further investigation or disciplinary action against these individuals [the professors who approved the re-written theses with extensive deletions and plagiarism]." In other words, Mr. Biancamano and President McDavis confirmed that professors are allowed to violate the re-write policy they provided to the Higher Learning Commission.

On September 3, 2009 John Biancamano wrote to K.L. Solinski to provide an update on Ohio University's plagiarism situation. The letter states once again that cheating students would re-write plagiarized theses. He does not mention that some are permitted to delete plagiarism instead of re-writing it.

President McDavis and John Biancamano are talking from both sides of their mouths. They have consistently and repeatedly told the public and the accreditors that cheating students are re-writing plagiarism when in fact some are not.

There is a major difference between re-writing and deleting. After all, Ohio University revoked one student's degree for plagiarism. Why didn't they just let him delete his plagiarism like they did for the others?

Ohio University is in blatant violation of the Higher Learning Commission's Accreditation Criterion One which includes: "The organization upholds and protects its integrity." Hopefully, K.L. Solinski will give me straight answers to my questions and start holding Ohio University leaders accountable for deceiving the public and the Commission.