An Unusual Honor-Code Violation: Students Selling Seats in Popular Courses
(ungated access here: http://www.aacrao.org/resources/resources-detail-view/an-unusual-honor-code-violation--students-selling-seats-in-popular-courses )
"Course registration can be a stressful process on many college campuses, but students at Emory University have channeled their frustration into creative solutions—some more ethical than others.
The university’s stratified registration process gives priority access to students who have earned the most credits, such as seniors and juniors, and students who hold merit scholarships. So crafty students have devised a way to game the system: Those with earlier registration times enroll in courses to save spots for their friends, who arrange to pick up those class spots during the university’s "add-drop-swap" open-enrollment period, in the last weeks of a semester.
Some students even enroll in popular classes to try to sell their spots to others, according to some undergraduates.
"I’ve definitely heard it’s happened," said Priyanka Krishnamurthy, a senior. "I’ve seen Facebook statuses: ‘I’m willing to pay anybody who drops this class.’" In one case, students told a professor, the price for a spot in a prime course, such as a chemistry class or business-school prerequisite, was advertised at $100.
The practice is considered a violation of Emory’s honor code because it confers "unfair academic advantage" on those who have not earned it, according to Joanne Brzinski, senior associate dean for undergraduate education.
Payoffs for class slots have occurred, she said, and have been advertised via social-media posts. But Ms. Brzinski believes there have been only a handful of such cases.
"Quite frankly, that’s the sort of thing we’re more concerned about than anything," she said. "It would mean that students who can afford to pay for courses get an advantage."