Last year, Simon Fraser University in Vancouver introduced a new grade for university courses: ‘FD’ or ‘failure due to dishonesty.’ Department chairs are empowered to give the grade on the basis of “behavior [that] warrants a severe penalty”. Usually, it is applied to repeat offenders. The grade continues to appear on a student’s transcript until two years after graduation.
To me, this seems like a sensible thing to do. Particularly when it comes to take-home essays, cheating in university is easy. When students do it, they harm the quality of education that everybody gets, while also gaining unfair advantages when it comes to things like scholarships. Having a mechanism for conveying the fact that someone has behaved in a seriously improper way (rather than failing a course for some more acceptable reason) would be beneficial both in terms of deterring bad conduct and by giving an obvious sign to anyone making decisions on the basis of a transcript, whether the issue at hand is a scholarship, grad school admission, or a job.