Yesterday a professor accused me (and 2 other students) of copying some material from one of our assignments.
Although this is a false accusation (I did not cheat), the circumstances under which this happened is a little unfortunate and I need some feedback on what I can do.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
There was a question on my RDBMS assignment about proving something about functional dependencies (FDs) which I had no idea how to solve. I gave up after hours of searching online and in books for something that would help me attempt it, so I approached a friend (also a student) who had taken the course the previous year and asked him how he'd solve the problem. He explained the approach and showed me an example where he used a ∀ (for-all) symbol to define a relation.
I used that symbol because his approach to the solution made sense and submitted my assignment to the prof.
After it got graded, my prof tells me that I copied my answer from 2 other guys because only the 3 of us used the ∀ symbol in that particular answer. He said it's an incorrect notation and that's how he got suspicious. (this is lame as ∀ is a universally accepted mathematical symbol)
As it turns out, those 2 other guys also spoke to the same guy for help and used his approach as well.
I told him about how I spoke to a past-student for help but he keeps telling me to "think about it" and come up with a story that's "believable".
He refuses to believe that it's a coincidence.
I can understand why he's pissed off 'cuz when you think from his perspective, it does appear that the three of us discussed and wrote the similar solution, but he's threatening to reduce my grade and report it to the grad school.
I feel I have done nothing wrong as per my department's guide on Academic Dishonesty and even though I brought it up with my professor, it seems like he's already made up his mind about what he's going to do.
I am told that he caught some other guys cheating in an assignment before but let them off with a warning but he is hell-bent on punishing me for some reason. He also feels super-betrayed 'cuz he never expected a student who's been scoring good grades for all his past assignments to turn out as a cheat.
My real question is should I sort this out with the prof or hope that the grad school gives me the benefit of doubt when he reports it to them?
This takes a lot of time and effort (not to mention the tedious paperwork) and I personally don't have the time nor the mental strength (thanks to grad school research) to go ahead with this procedure.
I'm beginning to think that it might be better to just give him the BS story that he wants and just get done with it (he'll pardon it if he hears what he what he wants to) instead of letting it get settled by the grad school.
Does anyone have any experience with false accusations like this?
In general does the commitee consider cases like this and give me the benefit of doubt or are they as stubborn as my prof?
I always thought this prof was a simple, level-headed guy and I've never seen him react like this before. He's an old "about-to-retire" japanese prof, and I can't help but wonder if the recent earthquake/tsunami had something to do with his mood during our conversation yesterday.
(I'm too frustrated so maybe I'm just over-thinking this part...)
So, should I try to reason with him about my situation or just let the grad school take a decision?
This post has been edited by born2c0de: 12 March 2011 - 11:33 PM