TCC suspends 34 more students in grade tampering scheme

Saturday, September 8th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ Tulsa Community College has suspended 34 more students accused in a grade tampering scheme that has resulted in a major loss in tuition money.

The school has suspended 57 international students for at least two years.

TCC officials discovered in May that students had altered grades and falsified English proficiency scores at the college's northeast campus.

Friday's announcement of 34 more suspensions was the third round. The school kicked out 25 international students in July and three more in late August. A handful of students appealed their suspensions and were reinstated.

``We were meticulous, perhaps to a fault, in developing this evidence but we wanted to be sure we had our bases covered when we made the decision,'' said TCC President Dean VanTrease, who approved the 90-day-old investigation into grade tampering in May. ``You can't go on hearsay. You have to have the facts to back it up.''

Officials say the financial impact of the suspensions will be substantial.

Out-of-state students pay $128.85 per credit hour and fees. Had each international student taken 12-hour semesters, that's a loss of $90,000 per semester in tuition and fees at the northeast campus.

The school said the 34 students suspended Friday are part of a group of 53 international students whose grades were altered --possibly by TCC staff. Three of the students suspended were currently enrolled in TCC classes, while others were in their Middle Eastern countries of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, VanTrease said.

Former TCC employee Dlorah Jean Hogle of Owasso has been charged with two felony counts of altering electronic records and could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted. Hogle, 45, resigned from her position as a TCC Northeast registrar employee in May after admitting to changing the grades of her boyfriend, Anwal Al-Khurafi, and a friend.

She told the Tulsa World that TCC staff and several professors were giving out passing marks for money or to bring in tuition revenues to the school.

``I always heard about the money and the (student enrollment) numbers,'' she said. ``The boys (Middle Eastern students) had money.''

Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris said he believes authorities have not yet discovered everyone involved in the cheating scam.

Numerous TCC employees have been questioned by TCC police, who are heading the investigation.