Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bathroom Breaks at Syracuse Law

In order to crack down on cheating during exams, Syracuse Law School has instituted a new policy that limits the number of visits to the restroom that students can make during finals. According to the article in The Post-Standard, Syracuse Law School now limits first-year students to one bathroom break during exams, even during exams lasting as long as four hours. The reason for the new policy is that some students "are suspected of using cell phones or looking at papers in the bathrooms." Even more disheartening for Syracuse's administration, I suspect, is that there has been "a significant number of reports from (first-year) students alleging academic dishonesty" during this particular exam period. In addition to limiting bathroom breaks, the school has also hired more proctors; is inspecting bathrooms before and during exams; and is "reviewing computer logs to see if students have altered their answers after the exams."

Reading this story made me think of my experience during the New York bar exam, which I took in 1983 when I was around seven months' pregnant. Because of my "delicate condition," the bar examiners decided that I should take the bar at Cardozo Law School instead of at the pier, which is where it was given in Manhattan in those days. The space at Cardozo was set aside for the physically challenged, which I certainly was by that point in my pregnancy. The only problem was that the room I was in had fixed seating which could not accommodate my swollen abdomen, and I had to write in a contorted position for the two days of the exam. Nonetheless, being assigned to Cardozo was a gift because Cardozo had real bathrooms, and I was spending a lot of time in the bathroom in those days. Every time I needed to leave the room, I had to ask permission from the proctor who had to accompany me to the restroom; she then checked the restroom to make sure I hadn't secreted notes or something there. The two of us went through this drill at least eight times each day, with her apologizing to me every time for the inconvenience. It was nothing short of a miracle that I passed given the amount of time I lost to bathroom breaks. With the luxury of hindsight, I now wonder if I could have gotten extended testing time under the circumstances. It wouldn't have changed the result, but it might have made the exam less stressful.

1 comment:

maddymappo said...

My daughter is taking the PA and the NJ bar exams at the end of the month. She will be eight months pregnant. She was DENIED extended time. I am suggesting that she wear a diaper.