Although it's unclear whether cheating is on the rise on Vermont campuses, the process of going after offenders is so time-consuming and unwieldy that many offenders go unpunished, professors say.

According to University of Vermont Sociology Professor Steve Berkowitz's 1990 survey of more than 800 randomly chosen UVM studtents, 16.5% of them have cheated on one or more academic assignments.

Chemistry Professor Bill Meyer, however, calls the judicial process "laughable." He said he wishes for a return to the times when professors were allowed to discipline those caught cheating.

"The thing that turns people off is, if someone wants to fight it, even though it's pretty abundantly clear they are guilty, they spend a lot of time, money and effort, and escape," Meyer said. He likened professors' experiences to those of rape victims who then have to go on trial to prove their character.

"It's often the professors that come in red-faced and nervous," said Cooke, a mathematics and statistics professor. "The students come in angry and confident, as if they know it's the professor who's on trial."

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