REGINA - Representatives with the University of Regina say it's difficult to handle recent allegations of students cheating in an ethics class without concrete evidence, although they say they're taking the accusations seriously.
President and vice-chancellor Vianne Timmons said the case was reported to the faculty of engineering, which she said they immediately "jumped on" and investigated.
But Timmons said it's hard to do because there's not much information.
"Remember, it was from one student with no names identified. It's very hard then to investigate and find out exactly what happened," Timmons told CKRM radio in Regina.
"As with every incident that's reported, we will do a thorough and comprehensive investigation."
A CBC report said a professor in a fourth-year law and professionalism class handed out a quiz to his class and then left the students under the supervision of teaching assistants. CBC said the university received reports from two students who witnessed others cheating.
Thomas Chase, who is provost and also vice-president academic, said the school wouldn't investigate unless concrete evidence surfaces.
"It's unfortunate when we learn that there are allegations of cheating," Chase told The Canadian Press. "We'd stress in this case that we have allegations from two students, but no concrete evidence or names at this point for the incident that was alleged to have taken place.
"More generally, any kind of allegation of cheating is troubling."
Chase confirmed two reports from a class on Feb. 6, but reiterated evidence is needed to investigate. He said there is evidence in a second, single case from the same class on Feb. 27.
"We are certainly following that up," said Chase, who added an associate dean is investigating.
Any students involved could be reprimanded if cheating or plagiarism is proven, he said.
"The penalty can range from a reduction in marks on that assignment, to a failure on the assignment or the exam, to failure of the entire course — all the way up to suspension from the university and, in very bad cases, expulsion from the university."
Chase said he's never heard of cheating allegations in a class focused on ethics.
"It's a concern in any class if people are not being honest," he said. "It's particularly unsettling, I'd put it, when that may occur or is alleged to have occurred in a course that deals with ethics and professionalism.
"It would be unfortunate if it is true."
— By Colette Derworiz in Edmonton