Auburn University
Office of Communications and Marketing

Briefing Note: July 13, 2006

Summary: This Briefing Note addresses a complaint made through the Ethicspoint system and currently under investigation by the Office of the Provost. In the interest of keeping the AU community informed, Dr. Richardson requested these statements from him and the Provost be shared with you.

Background and Statement from Dr. John Heilman, Provost:
Academic integrity is at the foundation of every university. At Auburn, we expect concerns related to academics to be reported through deans and department heads, but we also maintain an anonymous on-line system called Ethicspoint. In May, a complaint was made through the Ethicspoint system alleging that a single professor gave grades to student athletes for courses that required little or no work.

The Office of the Provost takes any concern related to academic processes at the University seriously. As a result, on June 5, I appointed a committee to investigate the anonymous claim. The work of the committee is not complete given the number of personal interviews that must be conducted.

The Committee will issue a report upon the completion of its work, and that report will be made public. Until that time, our office will have no comment on the investigation. I can assure you as Provost that academic misconduct will not be tolerated at Auburn University.

From the President:
Over the past two years, Auburn has shown a willingness to address serious issues in a very open and direct manner. The Provost has made me aware of a complaint and related investigation concerning grades assigned to student athletes.

I am confident that the Provost will perform a thorough investigation, and upon completion of that work we will make the results of that investigation public. I also want to make clear that in the event that any academic misconduct is confirmed, we will take appropriate action to insure that Auburn University’s strong academic reputation is not damaged. Auburn has been, and is, fortunate to have many dedicated instructors who, like us, will not tolerate academic misconduct.

I want to assure everyone associated with Auburn that upon completion of the investigation we will deal with this issue as we have dealt with other challenges – directly and openly.

Inquiries: Media or other external inquiries can be directed to David Granger or Deedie Dowdle in the Office of Communications and Marketing, 334-844-9999.