Skip Navigation

ACS is committed to helping combat the global COVID-19 pandemic with initiatives and free resources. Learn More

Case of the Compromised Computer

Category 4: Cheating, Dishonesty, Plagiarism


Victoria has been a more or less permanent part-time instructor for five years in a chemistry department largely focused on teaching. She believes there is a "good-old-boy" network among some of the male faculty and staff who have been in the department for a much longer period of time, resulting in less respect than she feels she deserves.

On a Monday, she comes into her office and discovers someone has been using her computer to access and alter some teaching files. The altered files point to a member of the tenured faculty, Professor Devion, as the most likely person accessing those files. When Victoria confronts Devion about entering her office and bypassing her computer password without permission, he admits to doing it, but says he needed the information to get ready for class. Victoria decided to contact the chair about this issue.

Stage 1

What action do you think WAS taken?

A. The chair talked to Devion and was convinced that he did nothing improper.

B. The chair put a note and official letter in Devion's employee file.

C. Since Victoria was not permanent, it was easier to not renew her contract than to pursue charges she made against Devion.

D. The chair initiated a series of ethics training for all staff and faculty to enhance collegiality within the department.

Stage 2

What action do you think SHOULD have been taken?

A. File internal theft charges against Devion.

B. File theft charges with the local police against Devion.

C. The chair should convince Victoria that this was a simple mistake and not an actual crime.

D. Install new locks on all faculty computers and offices.

E. Remove Victoria from the part-time instructor list.

F. Tell Victoria that replacing Devion in this climate would be nearly impossible so he will be warned not to do anything like this again or risk being fired. Meanwhile Victoria should not mention the event.

G. The chair should fire Devion.