An assistant professor at the University of Cincinnati called anti-plagiarism rules, zero tolerance policies and exam surveillance racist.
In a recent article in “Inside Higher Ed,” Antar A. Tichavakunda claimed the idea of “academic integrity” needs to be reinterpreted through a racial lens.
After citing a survey where minority students said they experienced discrimination related to academic integrity rules,Tichavakunda insisted the topic is inherently racial.
“Am I just trying to make this about race? No,” the professor wrote. “Academic integrity is already about race. From the assumptions behind who looks like they are cheating to the punishments given for cheating to the technology that monitors cheating to what counts as cheating, the idea of academic integrity is racialized through and through.
Technologies designed to proctor virtual exams became very popular during the pandemic. Tichavakunda highlighted these technologies as being among the racist elements of American college classes.
“Race also matters in proctoring software built to monitor students during remote exams. Proctoring software does not always accurately assess people who have darker skin,” he wrote.
Further,Tichavakunda accused white professors of letting racial bias influence the way they enforce academic rules.
“If zero-tolerance educational policies have taught us anything, it is that they tend to disproportionately harm Black and Latinx students. The same goes for academic integrity policies,” the professor claimed.
He continued, “Decision makers, from faculty members to student conduct officers, hold beliefs about identity that—if uninterrogated—could potentially be racist and discriminatory.”
Erec Smith, a professor at York College of Pennsylvania, disputedTichavakunda’s claims to Campus Reform.
“assuming the general incompetence of minorities because they are minorities is a violation of… academic integrity,” Smith said.
Tichavakunda offered that the solutions to these injustices can be found when people understand that academic integrity is not a “race-neutral” topic.