TCC students caught cheating could be at other colleges

Sunday, October 28th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ International students involved in a grade tampering scheme at Tulsa Community College may be using different names to attend other colleges in the United States, according to a published report.

The Middle Eastern students may be drifting from college to college, using aliases and falsified records, the Tulsa World reported Sunday.

Some of the students transferred to other schools after they were suspended from TCC. They now attend Pima Community College in Tucson, Ariz., California State University-Fresno, State University of New York and possibly Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, Ohio, records show.

Several of the 57 expelled students did not return to their home countries. Other students are unaccounted for and have possibly disappeared into this country in violation of their student visas, immigration officials said.

The students are accused of falsifying their English proficiency test scores and student transcripts, as well as grade tampering. TCC officials launched an investigation in May.

Records obtained by the Tulsa World show about a dozen of the suspended students are attending Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland and Pima Community College. They are using aliases and different dates of birth.

At least eight Kuwaiti students transferred to TCC from Cuyahoga in fall 2000, said Pamela Moore, international student adviser at Cuyahoga.

One Kuwaiti student expelled from TCC recently attempted to enroll in the University of Southern California with a falsified TCC transcript, records show. And another suspended student tried to re-enroll at TCC under a different name, President Dean VanTrease said.

``How brazen is that?'' said VanTrease, who announced an investigation into the cheating scam at TCC Northeast campus in June.

VanTrease said he is ``amazed at the lack of interest'' in the expelled students by the Immigration and Naturalization Service. In May, VanTrease asked for help from the INS and the Tulsa Police Department when the school discovered that grades had been altered in the registrar's office at the TCC Northeast Campus.

INS spokesman Lynn Ligon said tracking the international students is not a priority now.

``We have the discretion to step in on these cases, but the emphasis right now is on picking up criminal aliens,'' said Ligon, who works at the INS regional headquarters in Dallas.

Documents reveal that many of the Middle Eastern students involved in the cheating scandal were interested in maintaining their student visas without attending classes. One document details how a Middle Eastern student seems more concerned with keeping a visa than passing a class.

``He rarely attends class and cannot understand (the instructor) when she tries to explain the consequences,'' the TCC counseling center document states. ``He just tells her that he must stay enrolled and pass the class in order to wait sixty days to get another kind if visa.''