Death of George Mason University student leads to investigation of possible cheating

- The death of a student at George Mason University last year has led to allegations of a cheating scandal that is now under investigation.

Last September, Tristan Medina, a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, jumped off the fifth floor of a residence hall on campus after taking a hallucinogenic drug, according to police.

During the investigation into Medina’s death, police searched his laptops and discovered a bank of university exams, which led to another investigation.

According to court documents, investigators questioned his roommate, Robert O’Brien, following Medina’s death. Both were members of Sigma Alpha Epsilon.

O’Brien gave police permission to access his phone. Police found details that revealed an exam database the fraternity allegedly handed out to its members on his phone.

This was a text exchange between O'Brien and the fraternity's president, Jason Jeffreys:

O’Brien: "Yo Jason! Where can I get one of those tests from our test bank?"

Jeffreys: “Text Shash. He just sent it to someone earlier."

“Shash” is Shashwath Sudhish – the fraternity's vice president. According to court documents, it was this exchange that led investigators to conclude "Mr. Jason Jeffreys illegally has access to, maintains, and distributes a ‘Bank’ of materials intended to be submitted for academic credit at George Mason University."

George Mason University said in a statement:

In September, police opened a criminal investigation into the death of a student on campus. During the course of that investigation, police discovered a test bank, which included images of university exams that people could access.

The issue of the test bank was referred to the Office of Student Conduct to look into the misuse of university documents. No criminal charges have been brought.

Student Conduct began an administrative process that can result in disciplinary action. The university cannot discuss the identity of students involved or any potential disciplinary action against the individuals, as they are considered educational records and are protected under FERPA. The fraternity was suspended on an interim basis pending the outcome of a disciplinary hearing. That process is still underway and final disciplinary action may follow.

According to the court affidavit, Jeffreys is still a student at George Mason University.

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