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University lawyers said this week that a Wharton junior received a fair hearing despite his suit which claims he was denied "due process" before he was suspended for cheating. The University's reply to his suit, filed in federal court Wednesday, said the student was provided "with every conceivable opportunity to convince the University that the hearing panel's finding was incorrect." Wharton junior Mark Wallace filed suit last month alleging that the Judicial Inquiry Office "loaded" the hearing panel which found him guilty of cheating in 1989. Wallace, who was suspended for one semester in the spring of 1991 after a year of hearings, alleged the JIO "handpicked a loaded panel in number and composition to hear the case against him." Wallace's attorney Weldon Williams said last month that the case was heard before the University Hearing Board instead of the Honor Court as University policy mandates. The Hearing Board has fewer undergraduate members than the Court. But the University's response said "the University has followed its own procedures scrupulously," and cites the September 5, 1989, Almanac where President Sheldon Hackney and Provost Michael Aiken announced changes in the Judicial Charter and Code of Academic Integrity. According to Almanac, all references in the Code of Academic Integrity to "Honor Court" should be replaced with "the University Hearing Board." Wallace said in his complaint that he took a Statistics 101 exam for Statistics Professor Edward Lusk in November 1989 and during the test students were "permitted to consult, share and pass notes, notebooks and texts." Wallace and three other students were accused of cheating by a classmate, who is referred to in the suit only as "Christine." The University said in its response that "Christine" approached Lusk after the exam and said she felt cheating had occurred. Subsequently Lusk told the class of the student's belief and asked anyone who thought they might be implicated to come forward, the response said. One week later, the University's answer said, four students told Lusk they thought "a classmate may have mistaken their passing a notebook during the exam for the passing of a 'blue book.' " Lusk said last month that he had examined the blue books and determined that two of the four contained "similar answers." "Lusk found that he could not explain identical numerical and informational errors in answers in the two blue books without concluding that copying answers from one blue book to another had occurred," the response said. The response added that Lusk brought the two blue books to the department chairperson who independently came to the same conclusion. Wallace did not return phone calls placed at his home last night and counsel for both parties could not be reached for comment.

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