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State Ethics Test Itself Raises Ethics Issues for Illinois Academics

Submitted by Leo Klein on Wed, 1/10/07 (3:51pm)

If you work at a public college or university in Illinois you may already have heard of this. In fact, your Faculty Senate may be gearing up to lodge a complaint as we speak. There's also been articles about this in both the Chicago Tribune and Sun-times.

Above is a copy of one of the letters the State Inspector General has been sending to a number of participants in last Fall's online State Ethics Test. The letter tells participants that their "certificate of completion" for having gotten the answers right is no longer valid because it took them less than 10 minutes to complete the test.

(more after the jump...)

Now to a normal person, successfully completing a test, in this case on Ethics, in record time might indicate a special aptitude for the subject. However for the state of Illinois, this indicates instead an unwillingness to "meaningfully engage" with the material.

The "Noncompliant Employee" is then instructed to go though an included brochure, to sign the final page and send it back in -- under penalty of "disciplinary" action including being fired.

So naturally no one wants to be called "noncomplaint" particularly when it comes to ethics and many are refusing to sign the thing. The Tribune reports over 2300 offenders from U. of I. alone.

It would have been nice if they had mentioned the time requirement at some point during the test itself. Things aren't helped by the fact that Deputy Inspector General Gilbert Jimenez is going around "wondering" if people used a "cheat sheet" to finish up so quickly. Jimenez's statement to the Tribune implying that full-timers (i.e. people working "8 hours a day") had ample time to devote to the test is inaccurate if not altogether misleading since part-timers were required to participate as well.