Attorney of TCU students accused of cheating turns up heat on school

A Fort Worth attorney representing some students in an alleged cheating scandal at TCU said suspensions associated with the cheating have been lifted.

The university this week confirmed several students were suspended for what officials describe as cheating with an internet based study tool.

"A number of our students just yesterday afternoon heard that the suspension was being lifted,” attorney Leticia Martinez said. “They still would have the failing grade… and the academic misconduct.”

Martinez is representing an undisclosed number of the accused students. She said allegations surfaced within the Bob Schieffer School of Communications involving a course called interpersonal communications. The students are accused of abusing the online study community, Quizlet.

"You can actually search a particular course at a particular university and you can access things that other people, other users have posted. You might run across items that appear to be old test questions and you can study them,” Martinez said.

In this case, Martinez says a professor discovered some students over several semesters gained to access to active test questions.

Martinez said TCU’s position is students should’ve known the material online was unauthorized. But she said the course’s professor said studying old test items is not prohibited.

“The problem that he had is, once they took the exams and realized the questions matched up, they had the responsibility of telling him and because they didn't that was cheating,”

TCU officials on Thursday would not address whether the professor has been advised or disciplined in any way. They also said they could not confirm whether any student suspensions were lifted or even the number of students facing discipline, despite a report in the campus newspaper that 12 students were under investigation.

Martinez said among the accused is one international student and one senior whose graduation could be affected. All of the students are in various stages of appealing the allegation.