University investigates grade changes

Several individuals affiliated with Florida A&M University, whose identities are still unknown, are currently under investigation for allegedly conducting unauthorized grade changes.

According to a press release from the University’s public relations department, the FAMU police department launched the investigation when university officials discovered that students’ records were altered.

Corporal Sherri Luke, of FAMUPD’s crime prevention unit, is in charge of the investigation, according to Officer Kirkland of FAMUPD.

However, Luke declined to provide any information on the ongoing investigation and referred all inquiries to the department of public affairs.

The university has sought the aid of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in bringing the wrongdoers to justice.

Phil Kiracofe, public information officer at FDLE, said that he is aware of the investigation but could not go into further detail.

“Any questions have to be referred to university personnel.” Kiracofe said. “We’re [FDLE] merely supporting and helping with the investigation.”

Kiracofe explained that he could not give out any information, as he would be going against procedure.

“Protocol demands that any information that is going to be released is released by the university,” Kiracofe said.

Student Government President, Monique Gillum, said she has yet to find out how many individuals are involved.

“After speaking with administration I am not sure how many students are involved,” Gillum said. “I do understand, however, that the university is taking the necessary precautions to resolve the issue.”

Gillum said that because the investigation is pending, information was limited.

The SGA president said that she had been somewhat aware of a possible issue but was not sure as information came from unofficial sources.

“I have been hearing hearsay for a while [but] I never heard anything for certain,” Gillum said. “There’s been a lot of talk on campus the past week, a lot of people were talking about it.”

Gillum said the university has been aware and is doing investigations. Gillum said it is “an internal thing and the university is trying to see what’s going on.”

As for the severity of the punishment that will be meted out to the offenders, Gillum said she does not know what it will be but knows it will be severe.

“I believe it is a criminal offense,” Gillum said. “I have not spoken to them [university officials] as to what the consequences will be. But they messed with the credibility of the university. Toying with that, playing with grades is illegal.”

Gillum said that she foresaw the students and other individuals involved being permanently removed from the university, as they “went against everything academic integrity stands for.”

Gillum said she hopes that the recent incident does not negatively affect the entire university.

“I don’t believe that a small amount of students and their misbehaving should have any bearing on the university,” she said.

However, Gillum acknowledged that there might be some sort of backlash, in the form of accreditation, wherein the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and other entities are concerned. She hopes this would not be the case.

“I hope it will be handled on a university level, in terms of administration…with no bearing on the university’s stance,” Gillum said.

The SGA president concluded by saying that the university had more positive going for it than negative.

“FAMU is stronger today than it has been in a long time,” Gillum said. “When you hear of one bad thing there are even more good things; like the 77 pharmacy students that sat down for their exams, all of them passed.”

University president, James H. Ammons, is also aware of the incident and has issued a statement expressing his displeasure with the happenings.

“We have a zero tolerance for this kind of behavior,” Ammons said. “We must find those responsible and make sure that they are prosecuted.”

Ammons continued.

“We understand and take seriously the responsibility we have to provide a quality education and to protect the integrity of the academic records of the nearly 12,000 students we serve.”

Ammons said the university would be dealing with the situation the best way that it could and “with the best interests of our students in mind.”

The president asked for the Rattler community’s support and fortitude during the investigatory period.