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Duke: 34 MBA students punished for cheating

Duke University's Fuqua School of Business disciplined 34 first-year master of business administration students who were caught in the school's largest cheating scandal.

Fuqua investigated 38 students, marketing professor Gavan J. Fitzsimmons, who oversees the school's judicial panel, said. Four were cleared and 34 received disciplinary action ranging from expulsion to failing grades.

The allegations are the largest to hit a top US business school since 2005. Schools have been strengthening their ethics curriculums after scandals at Enron Corp. and WorldCom, which landed the firms in bankruptcy and their leaders in jail. Fuqua posts an honor code that covers cheating in every classroom.

In 2005, the Harvard Business School, Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sloan School of Management, and others rejected 150 applicants who tapped into an online database to see whether they had been accepted.

Nine students face expulsion, and 15 face a one-year suspension and a failing grade in the course. Ten others were found guilty of lesser offenses, nine of whom received a failing grade and one who flunked the assignment, Fitzsimmons said in the e-mail.

The problem came to light when a professor noticed similarities in answers by students on a take-home test.