Press Release from the Univerity of The Gambia
Report on the Investigations into the Alleged Grade Alteration/Tampering of Students at the University of The Gambia.
The University of The Gambia, committed to upholding academic integrity and maintaining the highest standards of education, takes any allegations of grade alteration or tampering very seriously. Following allegations in January 2023 that the grades of some students had been altered or tampered with in the student portal without proper authorization, management put in place a series of proactive measures to get to the bottom of the matter and to avert a recurrence. Some of these measures included denying access rights to the principal suspect with immediate effect and constituting a Fact-Finding Investigative Panel to further probe into the matter.
Fact-Finding Investigative Panel
The Fact-Finding Investigative Panel was constituted on January 30th, 2023. The Fact-Finding Investigative Panel completed their work on June 5th, 2023 and submitted a report. In accordance with the University of The Gambia Conditions of Service and other extant regulations, the report was submitted to the University Disciplinary Committee comprising two members of the Governing Council, two members of the Senate and one external member.
University Disciplinary Committee
The Disciplinary Committee conducted seven sittings from June 21st, 2023 to August 30th, 2023, adopted the report of the Fact Finding Investigative Panel, and further examined it to determine the appropriate course of action to take in response to the alleged grade alteration/tampering.
The Disciplinary Committee (DC-UTG) diligently carried out its responsibilities by conducting interviews, reviewing relevant documents, and gathering evidence about staff and students implicated in the grade alteration/tampering saga. The DC-UTG members ensured a fair and unbiased investigation, adhering to the principles of natural justice and due process.
To conduct a thorough and precise analysis, the Disciplinary Committee (DC-UTG) examined data related to various aspects of the student population at the University. These aspects included the gender distribution of those involved in the grade tampering incident as well as (1) students who already completed their programmes and received their certificates, (2) students who obtained their attestations but not yet awarded degree certificates, and (3) students currently enrolled in the university with various courses to be completed.
In light of these allegations, the DC-UTG reviewed the evidence and testimonies and made recommendations to the university Governing Council concerning grade alteration/tampering, which had serious disciplinary infractions and implicated the integrity of the university community. Consequently, four members of staff were found responsible for altering or tampering with students’ grades, and thus it is recommended that one of the staff be dismissed from the University and banned from taking employment in the university for a period of 10 years, while the other three be terminated. The DC-UTG recommended that all altered or tampered grades be reversed to their original state. Students implicated in altering or tampering with grades who have already received their degree certificates and transcripts should have them recalled and revoked. The DC-UTG also recommended that the affected students be given the
opportunity to re-sit and regularize their degree certificates and transcripts.
A total of 60 students (27 females and 33 males) are implicated in the saga and findings and recommendations are as follows:
- 1 (one) student collected his certificate, but has returned it to management. His certificate will be officially recalled and revoked.
- 10 students have already collected their attestations but not yet awarded their degree certificates. Their transcripts/attestations will be recalled and revoked.
- Forty seven (47) students will have their grades reversed to their original state.
- 2 students were not found guilty because the alteration of their grades was authorized;
The recommendations of the Disciplinary Committee were considered and approved by the Governing Council at its special meeting held on 2nd September, 2023 with some modifications:
a. That, in addition to the dismissal of Dr. John T Mendy, a ban be placed on him taking employment in the university for a period of 15 years.
b. That, for students whose grades will be reversed to their original state, they will only be allowed to re-sit and regularize their degree certificates and transcripts after one academic year i.e. the first semester of the 2024/2025 academic year.
In conclusion, the Governing Council reiterated its zero-tolerance policy for misconduct including indiscipline, sexual harassment, insubordination, calumny and leakages of confidential information.