Pinocchio’s Nose

Tom, a pre-med. student, works two part-time jobs while attending Prestigious University. Tom finds his course load for the spring semester very challenging and he struggles to keep up with the assignments in his anthropology course. Tom knows anthropology instructor, Dr. B., thinks highly of him and that Dr. B has a reputation of being somewhat of a softy when it comes to “good” students. So, having missed the deadline for submission of an important paper, Tom goes to Dr. B with the story that he and his twin brother were in a serious car accident over the weekend. Tom explains that he didn’t hand in the assignment because he has been at the hospital sitting at his brother’s bedside in the intensive care unit where his brother is now on life support. Dr. B is of course very sympathetic and grants Tom an extension on the assignment. Later in the semester Tom once again finds himself behind the eight ball on an assignment…

Consider each of the following questions and evaluate the case study:

1. What is the action or inaction that is the cause for concern?

2. Who or what may be affected?

3. How will they be affected? (i.e., what are the possible consequences?)

If Tom speaks to Dr. B and asks for help, Tom could receive an extension which would give him time to turn in a good paper and earn a good grade. Dr. B. might also be able to help Tom figure out how to manage his time better so Tom will not fall behind in the future.

If he lies to Dr. B which is what he did the first time, he could get more sympathy and another bailout but he could also get caught. In this case, he could get in serious trouble, fail the course and perhaps even be thrown out of college. So, depending on what he does the consequences could be severe.

4. Are there any laws, regulations written or unwritten that may apply?

5. What actions might be taken and what would the consequences of these actions be?

6. Can anything be done to prevent this from reoccurring or to minimize the severity of the consequences?

Basis for Case Study 1
In 2000, tragically a Columbia University pre-med student committed suicide when his alleged dishonesty came to light. This case is based on a series of articles that appeared about the case in the Chronicle of Higher Education in 2000:

J. Hardi. (2000) Chronicle of Higher Education. April 14. “Student Who Was Suspended for Fabricating Twin’s Death Loses Suit Against Columbia U.”

J. Hardi. (2000) Chronicle of Higher Education. April 25. “Columbia U. Is Shaken by Suicide of Student Suspended for Fabricating Brother’s Death.”