BUTTE (AP) — An investigation has revealed a former employee made more than 100 unauthorized changes to grades given to 36 former or current students, who now face potential disciplinary action, officials at Montana Tech said.
Chancellor Don Blackketter told the Montana Standard (http://bit.ly/xw8hVb) in a story published Saturday that results of the investigation will be turned over to authorities for possible criminal prosecution.
Blackketter declined to name the former employee. School officials said no faculty members were involved in alleged wrongdoing, and all transcripts have been corrected.
"Although this incident is disturbing for all associated with Montana Tech, we recognize and deeply appreciate that the overwhelming majority of Montana Tech students are outstanding people who contribute significantly to our communities," he told the newspaper. "The integrity of student records at Montana Tech is of utmost importance."
He said eight of the students have graduated and face a possible revocation of their degrees. Of the remaining 28, he said those who want to return face potential disciplinary action, including expulsion. He said most of those students are not expected to return to the school. He declined to elaborate. The spring semester begins Wednesday.
The newspaper reports that the school has about 2,850 students and is known for its excellence in engineering and science.
The investigation began in October when the administration noticed irregularities in transcripts. Blackketter on Friday emailed results of that investigation to faculty.
The investigation was initiated, officials said, after what first appeared to be an unauthorized change to one student's transcript, but that triggered a larger internal investigation.
"It was the tip of the iceberg above the water, and we found out the rest," said Vice Chancellor Doug Abbott.
Abbott said the investigation eventually included transfer credits, grade changes and the deletion and addition of courses from transcript records.
Blackketter said 126 grades were changed, there were 119 instances of courses being removed from transcripts, and 19 instances of courses being added.
He said the school is adopting a new system intended to prevent unauthorized changes to student records. He said that includes software that will make sure grade change requests come from authorized faculty who are logged into the system securely.