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Settlement for profs who thought 100% was a passing grade

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Two Southern Illinois University at Carbondale professors who were threatened with punishment after they aced a mandatory online ethics test have received a settlement in a lawsuit they brought against the state.

Why did the state want to punish them? They finished the 10-question exam too quickly.

Marvin Zeman and Walter Wallis breezed through the state-required test in 2006. Shortly after, they received letters from the Illinois executive inspector general and the Illinois Executive Ethics Commission stating that they had failed the test because they completed it too quickly.

Although nothing in the test instructions mentioned any kind of timing criteria, state officials apparently believed the professors wrapped it up too quickly to have read all the ethics-related material contained in the test.

“A lot of it is common sense,” Zeman told Inside Higher Education. “It’s not exactly rocket science.”

Zeman and Wallis refused to admit any wrongdoing and sued. The state settled with the professors in April, stipulating that the pair had to again pass the ethics test. The state also promised the profs they wouldn’t lose their jobs.

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