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WRGT-TV FOX 45 News :: News - Top Stories - 2 Miami Univ. Students Expelled for Grade Hacking
Wednesday, March 27 2013, 08:04 AM EDT
2 Miami Univ. Students Expelled for Grade Hacking
OXFORD -- A couple of Miami seniors are out of school early and facing criminal charges for stealing faculty computer passwords and raising their grades. Beckley Munson Parker and David Lucien Callahan are accused of changing their own grades and the grades of several of their fraternity brothers.

Now, the university is left with a mess to clean up and a hole to patch in its computer security. News Reporter Joe Webb from our sister station WKRC-TV in Cincinnati spent the day in Oxford and has the story.

A five-month investigation is just wrapping up. Parker and Callahan were dismissed March 8 and charged with unauthorized use of a computer system for inflating grades.

At this point it appears that this was an isolated pair of incidents. Isolated but undetected for nearly two years. The university says the grade fixing goes back to the spring 2011. The problem came to light last October when an associate professor noticed some grades changed in a class she was teaching at Hughes Hall. She reported that she thought her computer had been hacked. What caught her attention was Parker's grade had been changed from an F to a C.

When pushed by police, Parker admitted he had installed what's called a key logger on the professor's classroom computer. " It captures all the keystrokes made on the keyboard so then when a faculty member would log into the workstation in the classroom where they were using these devices, as soon as the faculty member logged in they had access to their username and password."

Police say Parker made 17 grade changes for himself and a total of 28 grade changes for his Phi Delta Theta fraternity brothers. After a search warrant was executed on the fraternity house, Callahan admitted changing grades and sharing downloaded copies of midterms and final exams.

Today, news was just starting to get around campus. "I definitely think it's out of character for any Miami student to have even done that. So, I'm really shocked."

"I don't understand why they would do that. But I almost felt for them because you don't have a college education any more all because of that one stupid choice."

Miami is reconfiguring its classroom computers. Any grade change now prompts an email to the professor who supposedly changed it. Measures to plug a hole but too late to avoid scandal and questions about academic integrity.

The university is now going back and looking at the more than 13,000 grade changes that faculty have made since the fall of 2006. So far, that investigation has not uncovered any additional improper grade changes. 2 Miami Univ. Students Expelled for Grade Hacking

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