https://www.v-dem.net/media/publications/C4D_PB_35_final.pdf
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Academic Reproach: The UL Graduation Saga and the Implications for Institutional Integrity


Background

The recent saga surrounding the graduation of two law school students by University authorities has left the institution incredulously diminished in the eyes of the public, devastating - in the wisdom of alumni and education stakeholders.

The caliber and committedness of quality managers largely drive institutional credibility and integrity. In the current case, as is the situation with Harvards, Yales, and Cornells, the ranking of Ivy League institutions pivots on the collection of high-caliber instructional profiles. Ivy League schools attract the level of public attention and the enormity of private resources based in part on the instructional strength of a school. The resignation of Cllr. Morris-Allison from the Law School is a regrettable development considering what her presence brings to the institution.

Every such occurrence of an administrative or operational mishap presents renewed opportunities for reform - be it in policy or procedures. That the University chose to "give the two students the benefit of the doubt" is in and of itself an administrative defect that sends the wrong signals to not only other high-profile instructors but to miscreant students that they could similarly benefit.


Here are the issues

By sidestepping the caliber of Cllr. Morris-Allison or any instructor for that matter could suggest a number of things: a) mistrust or distrust in the integrity of faculty by administration; b) breakdown in effective internal communications between faculty and administration; and c) administrative disregard for institutional integrity and image.


While this is not the first time the University has had to grapple with graduating people deemed never to have stepped foot in ANY classroom or had not successfully met the graduation requirements, it is incumbent on administrators to realize the implications on institutional image and integrity. That Cllr. Morris-Allison would recall not only the students' but their circumstances, yet get rebuffed by the administration because her procedure was wrong defeats any argument in favor of the University and those two.


Were the question posed to a court of mediation, my learned Counsellor for Life, Boakai N. Kanneh, would say - in his nicest legal voice - that the University is primarily complicit in "vitiating" its image.


Implications: The Losses Incurred

Cheating on exams or graduation requirements - can have serious consequences, especially for those who hope to become practitioners. The sub-terranean meeting of graduation requirements can lead to a lifetime of shame and embarrassment. It's important to always do your best and maintain academic integrity to avoid these negative outcomes. Think about the impact your actions could have on your future and the people around you. For as long as those two students traverse the halls of the profession, will remain the icon of the Morris-Allison and UL graduation saga. The great Ceasar was reported to have left his wife Curpornia, not because she believed she cheated on him, but because she, by her own derelict, could not manage herself beyond public reproach.


For the University, besides the need for greater institutional reforms in grading and graduation policies, there's a glaring understanding of an administrative division subsisting, especially at the instructional level which requires urgent clinical attention. Losing Cllr. Morris-Allison is an enormous instructional loss with impact on institutional credibility and integrity. Inter-group cohesion isn't spared by this situation. Instituting a study to draw up corrective policies and procedures to counter any recurrence would be the most appropriate action going forward. In addition to regaining the trust and services of the learned Counselor.


by George W. Williams



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