State fails 65 professors on ethics test

By Gus Bode

SIUC’s faculty union is set to meet with administrators today to determine if it will file a grievance against the university after 65 professors were told they failed to meet time requirements on a recent state-ordered ethics exams.

The meeting comes after 255 SIUC employees received letters from the Office of the Executive Inspector General in November informing them that their online tests were invalid because they finished in less than 10 minutes.

The Office of the Inspector General earlier this fall required all state employees to complete a 10-question exam, which was preceded by reading material that outlined ethics rules and guidelines for reporting unethical behavior in the workplace.


Administrators recently sent letters to those who had not met requirements and included a second version of the test that can be completed and sent back to the campus’ ethics office.

English professor Beth Lordan was one of the faculty members to receive a letter. She sent a response to administrators and media that she refused to sign the non-compliance statement.

“I must register my outrage at the accusation. I complied with the requirement that I participate in this training,” Lordan wrote. “� I await an apology for this insult to my honesty and integrity from the Office of the Executive Inspector General.” Faculty Association President Marvin Zeman asked members of his organization not to sign any paperwork.

“In the end, maybe they need to sign it, but that’s something we’re going to negotiate with the administration,” Zeman said.

Inspector General spokesman Gilbert Jimenez said Friday the average employee spent 32 minutes on the test.

Jimenez said it was unreasonable for anyone to spend less than 10 minutes on the exam.

“This person is holding onto a cheat sheet,” said Jimenez. “That’s what it tells me.”


The Office of Inspector General mailed hard copies of the exam to employees who had not met the time requirements of the online version.

Filling out the hard copy exam means that the person taking it has to sign a statement admitting noncompliance on the first test.

Zeman said he asked union members to not sign any paperwork because the letter of noncompliance could lead employees to being fired.

“The letter they have to sign is discipline already,” Zeman said. “They have to admit they were noncompliant.”

More than 100 employees have completed the second test, the university’s ethics officer Corey Bradford said.

He said 99 percent of the people on campus completed the first test with no problems and that the second test is not punishment.

“This does not imply they have done something unethical,” Bradford said.

Zeman said the second test is easier to work around. He said the only thing a person has to do is sign the paperwork.

“Nobody is even checking if anybody is reading it,” Zeman said.

Bradford said the state could set any requirements for the test that are necessary. He said the state’s review of exams is similar to how professors grade students.

“If you grade a student, and you feel a student isn’t meeting your standards, you grade them accordingly,” Bradford said.

Zeman said a few union members could have completed the second test and sent it in. He said he called for those people to take it back if they had turned it in.

He said the focus is more on the lessons taught in the ethics test than the questions themselves.

Wayne Utterback can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 268 or [email protected].