A Judaic Studies midterm exam, scheduled for this morning, November 1st, was cancelled after it was found out that a student had stolen a copy of the exam. The course, Basic Jewish Concepts: Prayer, with Rabbi Lawrence Hajioff, has 40 students enrolled in it.
Rabbi Hajioff left the midterms in an unlocked drawer in his office, and was informed via email that a student had entered his office and taken a test prior to the scheduled time for the exam. After informing the class that he had been made aware that a student had cheated by stealing an exam, Rabbi Hajioff wrote four questions on the board for the students to answer on paper, in lieu of the prepared written exam.The final exam will now count for a larger percentage of the grade for the course.
Students enrolled in the course expressed frustration about the incident. “Rabbi Hajioff puts in the effort to create genuine relationships with his students,” said Ailin Elyasi, SCW ‘20, who is in the class. “Having taken three classes with him already, I have never seen him so upset or disappointed. [This] new class and the test took a lot of effort, and this instance clearly tarnished a certain trust he had with his students.”
Other students were upset by the incident because now the final exam will count for 70% of students’ final grades for the course.
Though it is not fully clear how Rabbi Hajioff found out that the test had been stolen, students report that another student in class emailed him last night to tell him. The administration has been informed about the incident.
“He worked really hard on creating this whole new curriculum over the summer and his tests are always easy if you study,” said another student enrolled in the course. “He literally tells us what’s on the test with a recorded video, so there [was] really no point in stealing the test.”
The administration has recently expressed concern over cheating in the undergraduate community and committed to increasing stringency on policing cheating and plagiarism. Deans of Yeshiva College met with students this past October to discuss specific policy and attitude changes that they plan to implement this semester. In light of these new events, and numerous complaints from Stern students of cheating in countless classes on the Beren campus, perhaps it is time for a similar meeting to take place at Stern College.