Zane Corbin, Accounting Major
12:55 P.M., Friday, April 30
“The final undergraduate award today is the William J. Upchurch Medal, which is given annually to the
outstanding senior in the Hopkins College of Business. Nominations are made by Hopkins faculty
members and the criteria considered in choosing the winner include overall GPA, GPA in business
courses, and involvement in student organizations.” Dean Rodney Brown paused to build suspense
among the nearly 500 faculty members, students, parents, and donors present at the annual spring
awards luncheon being held in the Student Union Ballroom of the large state university. “I know that every
year the Undergraduate Awards Committee struggles to choose the winner of the Upchurch Medal
because there are so many deserving recipients. Professor John Goggans of the Finance Department
chaired that committee this year. Let’s give him a round of applause,” Brown said as he motioned for
Goggans to stand. A few moments later, Brown continued. “Drum roll, please . . . . This year’s winner of
the William J. Upchurch Medal—which is accompanied by a $1,000 check—is . . . Michael Zane Corbin,
an accounting major.”
As Zane Corbin wound his way through the maze of tables set up in the ballroom to receive his award and
check, Dean Brown read Zane’s credentials for the award, including the five student organizations of
which he was a member. The final organization listed by Dean Brown was Beta Alpha Psi, the College of
Business’s honors organization for accounting majors. Ann Herrick, an accounting professor, immediately
stopped clapping. Why? Because Professor Herrick served as the faculty advisor of the college’s Beta
Alpha Psi chapter and she knew that Zane Corbin was not a member of that organization.
1:20 P.M., Friday, April 30
Ann Herrick went to John Goggans’ office following the awards luncheon to discuss Zane Corbin’s alleged
membership in Beta Alpha Psi.
“There it is, Ann, ‘Beta Alpha Psi,’ the final line under the heading ‘Memberships,’” Goggans said as he
pointed to Zane’s vita—students nominated for the Upchurch Medal were asked to submit a vita to the
Undergraduate Awards Committee.
“John, I can assure you Zane Corbin is not and has never been a member of Beta Alpha Psi.”
“How could this happen?” Goggans asked.
“Well, it isn’t too difficult to figure out what happened, at least for me. The kid was obviously trying to
increase his chances of winning the Upchurch Medal.”
Goggans, the former chairman of the Finance Department, was mildly offended by Herrick’s
“By the way, I made several phone calls this afternoon,” Herrick continued. “Everything else appears to
check out on Zane’s vita.”
“So, we are only dealing with this one minor item?”
“One minor item?” Herrick mimicked Goggans’ matter-of-fact tone. “To me, it’s not minor. In the
accounting profession, we have a code of ethics that has as its core something known as integrity.”
“Ann, I can assure you that the accounting profession doesn’t have a patent on ethics or morality within
the business world,” Goggans snapped.
“Are you suggesting we just ignore this?” Herrick responded in kind.
Goggans took off his reading glasses and tossed them on his cluttered desktop. He was upset with
himself for allowing his emotions to get the better of him. After taking a deep breath he responded calmly.
“No. I am not . . . suggesting that at all. I probably used the term minor because it’s the final item on his
vita and the shortest entry.” “Well, what are we going to do about it?” Unlike Goggans, Herrick had not yet
regained control of her emotions.
“I suggest that we first cool off. And then . . . we can talk our way through this.” Goggans’ conciliatory tone
had a soothing effect on Herrick as she visibly relaxed. “Ann, it has been four weeks since my committee
met and made the decisions on the student awards, including the Upchurch Medal. I will do my best to
recall exactly how we settled on Zane as the winner of that award. Is that a reasonable starting point?”
“Yes,” Herrick replied cordially and then added, “I believe there are two issues here. The first is whether
his reported Beta Alpha Psi membership influenced your committee’s decision. The second is addressing
the issue of his dishonesty.”
“I agree. Totally.” Goggans leaned back in his chair and stared at the ceiling of his office for several
moments. “Let’s see. Ten of the twelve students who were nominated for the Upchurch Medal submitted a
vita for my committee to consider. I gave everyone on the committee a copy of those vitas and asked that
they review them before we met as a group. Then, during our meeting, I think we . . . uh . . . we . . . uh . . .
decided first to pare down the nominees to a set of five finalists.” Goggans scratched his forehead as he
struggled to recall the Upchurch Medal deliberations. “Yes, I remember now. That’s exactly what we did.
And then, we discussed each of the five finalists before we voted.”
“Seems like a reasonable process,” Herrick interjected.
“Each member of the committee voted for his or her first, second, and third choice. After that first round of
voting, we wound up with a tie between Zane Corbin and a young lady by the name of . . .” Goggans
scratched his forehead again as he struggled to recall the given student’s name. “Oh yes, her name is
Alisha Buchanan. She is a marketing major.”
Goggans hesitated as he realized what he was about to tell Herrick would make her even more convinced
Zane Corbin’s apparent dishonesty was a serious matter. “So, we narrowed our choice down to those two
students. The six of us voted again and we wound up with a three to three tie. To break the tie, as
chairman, I excused myself and asked the five committee members to vote one final time. In fact, I had
voted for Alisha. Anyway, the final vote was three to two in Zane’s favor.” Goggans wearily shook his
head. “So, in looking back, it is possible that one line item on Zane’s vita, namely, the bogus Beta Alpha
Psi membership, may have swayed the committee’s decision.”
“Hmm . . . I see.” Herrick resisted the temptation to verbally congratulate herself for exposing what now
appeared to be a potential scandal for the Hopkins College of Business. “In my opinion, we should meet
with Marilyn to discuss this matter and decide how to proceed.” Associate Dean Marilyn McGrew chaired
the Academic Misconduct Council of the Hopkins College of Business.
Goggans nodded his head in agreement as he resisted the urge to make some sarcastic remark to his
thoroughly self-righteous colleague. “Well, we only have two weeks left in the semester, including finals
week, which means we have to move rapidly on this. I will call Marilyn’s secretary and try to arrange a
meeting with her before she leaves today. Will you be available later this afternoon?”
“Sure. Just text me when you have the meeting set up.”
“Ann,” Goggans said as Herrick got up to leave his office. “Do you know Zane Corbin? Have you had him
in class or interacted with him in any way?” Goggans suspected that Herrick was waging a personal
vendetta against Zane given the zeal with which she was pursuing the matter at hand.
“No. When I saw him earlier today, he looked familiar. But I have never had him in any of my courses and
certainly never met him.” After Herrick stepped to the door of Goggans’ office, she turned back toward
him. “Why do you ask?”
“Oh, I was just wondering,” Goggans replied nervously. Given the tone of Herrick’s voice, there was no
doubt in Goggans’ mind that she realized what had prompted his question.
5:05 P.M., Friday, April 30
“Is there no other possible explanation for this? Could it just be some type of misun-derstanding?” Dean
McGrew asked John Goggans and Ann Herrick as she stared at the copy of Zane Corbin’s vita that
Goggans had given her. McGrew had agreed to meet with the two faculty members at 5 p.m. on Friday
afternoon, but for no more than ten minutes because she had travel plans that evening.
“Marilyn, I don’t know how you could characterize it as a misunderstanding,” Herrick responded
emphatically. “We send an email to potential Beta Alpha Psi members at the beginning of each fall
semester. Attached to that email is a list of the requirements for becoming a member, including
classification as a junior and a 3.0 GPA. Pledges also have to attend the pledge class orientation meeting,
five professional meetings, and participate in one community service event. Students who satisfy those
requirements and pay their dues are initiated into Beta Alpha Psi during the final meeting of the spring
“Well, this is troubling, but let’s remember,” McGrew said as she purposefully fixed her gaze on Ann
Herrick, “Zane is innocent until proven guilty.” Herrick didn’t flinch as the two women briefly stared at each
other. “After I return on Sunday evening, I will notify him by email that he is going to be charged with
academic misconduct. Since we have very little time to deal with this matter, I will arrange a meeting early
next week with him. I would like each of you to attend that meeting. If he will admit to the misconduct
allegation, we may be able to resolve this matter quickly.”
“And if he doesn’t?” Herrick asked.
“In that case, I will be forced to arrange a hearing. As mandated by our bylaws, I will randomly select two
faculty members and three students from the Academic Misconduct Council. Then the matter, including
the potential sanctions to impose on Zane, will be in the hands of those five individuals.” As an
afterthought, McGrew added, “Of course, the panel would not have the authority to rescind the Upchurch
Medal. If necessary, John, you and I can deal with that issue at the appropriate time.”
3:00 P.M., Tuesday, May 4
The ad hoc meeting involving Zane Corbin, Professor John Goggans, Professor Ann Herrick, and
Associate Dean Marilyn McGrew was held on Tuesday afternoon, four days after Zane had been
announced as the winner of the Upchurch Medal. After introducing everyone present and providing a brief
summary of the purpose of the meeting, McGrew invited Zane to comment on the matter at hand.
“Dean McGrew, this was just an honest mistake. I can’t understand why you are making such a big deal of
“Quite frankly, Zane, this doesn’t have the trappings of an honest mistake. It appears to be an intentional
effort on your part to embellish your vita to improve your chances of winning the Upchurch Medal.”
McGrew paused momentarily before adding, “And the $1,000 check accompanying the award.”
“Wait a minute, wait a minute. I attended the orientation session for pledges during the fall semester of my
junior year, I went to two career fairs each of the past two years, and, most importantly, I was on the email
distribution list for Beta Alpha Psi the past two years. In fact, before every meeting, I received an email
from the chapter notifying me of the time, location, and the speaker. You can see why I thought I was a
member because I was on that distribution list. I know it wasn’t right to not attend the regular meetings,
but, quite honestly, all I wanted to do was have the Beta Alpha Psi membership on my vita.” Zane, whose
face was flushed, stopped to catch his breath and muster sufficient courage to continue. “So, yes, I
realized I wasn’t really participating in the organization, but, hey, look at my vita. I had four other
organizations that were eating up a lot of my time. In two of those organizations, I held leadership
positions. So, I . . . I . . . just decided to blow off Beta Alpha Psi after I thought that I had somehow
become a member.”
“Ann, do you have—”
Before Dean McGrew could finish her question directed at Ann Herrick, Zane interrupted her. “I mean, you
could charge me with being a lousy member of Beta Alpha Psi but that doesn’t involve dishonesty.”
When it was apparent that Zane was finished, McGrew again addressed Ann Herrick. “Ann, do you have
an attendance sheet for the orientation meeting Zane attended?”
“No. We don’t take attendance at the orientation meetings,” Herrick replied.
“What about the career fairs? Do you take attendance at those?”
“No, because we don’t consider them to be official events. All accounting majors are invited to the career
“And what about the issue of Zane being on Beta Alpha Psi’s email distribution list the past two years?”
McGrew continued quizzing Herrick.
“What we do is develop a roster of everyone who is eligible to apply for membership in Beta Alpha Psi at
the beginning of each fall semester. That roster becomes the email distribution list for potential pledges,”
Herrick explained. “I did check that roster and Zane’s name was on it the past two years. So, he is correct
in that regard. He would have been notified in advance of every Beta Alpha Psi meeting since he became
“See, like I said, I just assumed for the past two years I was a member because I received those regular
emails.” The stress in Zane’s voice was becoming more elevated with each passing minute.
“But you received an email at the beginning of each fall semester that explained in detail the requirements
for membership in Beta Alpha Psi.” Herrick’s accusatory tone made Zane even more stressed. “And if you
attended the orientation meeting as a junior, you sat through a PowerPoint presentation that listed those
requirements as well.”
When Zane failed to reply, McGrew prompted him. “Well, Zane. How do you respond to what Professor
Herrick just said?”
Zane lowered his head and stared at the floor for several moments. “I don’t know. I mean, I guess I’m one
of those students who doesn’t pay a lot of attention to administrative details.” Zane finally raised his head
and made eye contact with McGrew. “I’m sure I received the emails Professor Herrick referred to, and I
know I sat through the orientation session during the fall semester of my junior year. But I probably didn’t
read . . . I mean, I’m sure I didn’t read the full text of the emails or pay attention during the orientation
meeting. Given how busy I was over the past two years, I often took homework to work on during those
types of meetings.”
Professor Goggans finally spoke for the first time. “Zane, you said a few moments ago that you ‘decided
to blow off Beta Alpha Psi after I thought that I had somehow become a member.’ To me, that statement
suggests you may have believed you were a member of Beta Alpha Psi but that you had been granted
membership in the organization by mistake. Is that the case? Did you believe you had been admitted to
Beta Alpha Psi by mistake?”
Zane’s face betrayed that he was rattled by Goggans’ questions. He coughed and twice cleared his throat,
ostensibly to give himself additional time to respond. After an extended silence, he meekly replied, “No.”
Dean McGrew and the two professors glanced at each other after Zane’s less than convincing response.
McGrew then addressed Zane. “At this point, my only option is to move forward with filing an allegation of
academic dishonesty against you. If you will send me your schedule for the next two weeks, I will try to
find a time slot for a hearing before a panel of the Academic Misconduct Council that will be least
disruptive for you.”
2:30 P.M., Thursday, May 13
On Thursday afternoon of finals week, Zane Corbin appeared before the five-person academic
misconduct panel. In addition to Zane, the panel heard from Professor Herrick and Professor Goggans.
The panel spent 45 minutes listening to the testimony of those three individuals and questioning them.
The panel then dissected and debated the case for more than one hour. Multiple votes were taken during
that time, each ending with two votes in favor of finding Zane guilty of misconduct, two votes in favor of
acquitting him, and one abstention. After the final vote, the chairperson dismissed the panel. He then
called Dean McGrew and informed her that the five members had been hopelessly deadlocked. As a
result of the panel’s failure to reach a decision, McGrew dismissed the academic misconduct charge filed
against Zane Corbin.
Because the semester was effectively over, McGrew decided it was not feasible to ask the Undergraduate
Awards Committee to reconsider its decision to award the Upchurch Medal to Zane Corbin. Instead, she
called John Goggans to discuss that issue. After a brief conversation, McGrew unilaterally decided no
further action would be taken in the case, meaning that Zane would retain the Upchurch Medal and the
accompanying $1,000 stipend. McGrew told Goggans she would personally inform Ann Herrick of her
decision, which she did—two weeks later.
1. Assume you were a member of the panel that presided over the academic misconduct hearing
involving Zane Corbin. Given just the information provided in the case, how would you have
voted at the conclusion of the hearing? Defend your answer.
2. Again, assume you were a member of the five-person panel appointed to review the charge of
academic misconduct filed against Zane Corbin. What questions would you have posed to
Zane, Professor Herrick, and Professor Goggans during their testimony before the panel?
How, if at all, might the answers to those questions have affected your vote at the conclusion
of the hearing?
3. Given the facts available in this case, do you believe the Upchurch Medal awarded to Zane
Corbin should have been rescinded despite the outcome of the academic misconduct hearing?
Why or why not?
4. Reportedly, one member of the hearing panel believed Zane was guilty of the charge filed
against him but voted to acquit him because the adverse consequences Zane faced if the
Upchurch Medal was rescinded far outweighed the severity of the “indiscretion” he had
committed. Was that a reasonable or appropriate justification for voting to acquit Zane?
Defend your answer.
5. The second member of the hearing panel who voted to acquit Zane was not convinced the
available evidence demonstrated “beyond a reasonable doubt” that Zane was guilty of the
charge filed against him. Was that an appropriate justification for voting to acquit Zane?
Defend your answer.
6. Describe how an allegation of academic misconduct similar to the charge filed against Zane
Corbin would be dealt with at your institution. Identify the strengths and weaknesses of the
system in place at your institution to address such matters.
Goodner Brothers, Inc.
“Woody, that’s $2,400 you owe me. Okay? We’re straight on that?”
“Yeah, yeah. I got you.”
“And you’ll pay me back by next Friday?”
“Al, I said I’d pay you back by Friday, didn’t I?”
Borrowing money from a friend can strain even the strongest relationship. When the
borrowed money will soon be plunked down on a blackjack table, the impact on the
friendship can be devastating.
Woody Robinson and Al Hunt were sitting side by side at a blackjack table in Tunica,
Mississippi. The two longtime friends and their wives were spending their summer
vacations together as they had several times. After three days of loitering in the casinos
that line the banks of the Mississippi River 20 miles south of Memphis, Woody found
himself hitting up his friend for loans. By the end of the vacation, Woody owed Al nearly
$5,000. The question facing Woody was how he would repay his friend.
Two Pals Named Woody and Al
Woodrow Wilson Robinson and Albert Leroy Hunt lived and worked in Huntington, West
Virginia, a city of 60,000 tucked in the westernmost corner of the state. The blue-collar
city sits on the south bank of the Ohio River. O ...
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