Senior’s uncertain graduation status sparks demonstration

Students gather outside of Pat Neff hall to protest in support of Chicago senior Diamond Dominguez. Kennedy Dendy | Broadcast Reporter

By Savannah Cooper | Reporter

Chicago senior Diamond Dominguez declined to comment on whether she will graduate later this month, following several Honor Council decisions regarding a professor’s plagiarism accusation on a two-point extra credit assignment.

Monday, April 8, an Honor Council of three students and three faculty members had concurred with environmental professor Dr. Trey Brown’s report that Diamond Dominguez committed plagiarism. The following day, the Chicago senior recalls receiving a letter from the Office of the Provost affirming the Honor Council’s decision she would be charged with that violation.

Earlier this month, Dominguez, posted her complaint on social media. In the video, Dominguez said Brown’s discipline of her eating in class, which his rules prohibit, as well as reporting her to the Office of Academic Integrity for not citing an external photograph that was part of her extra credit assignment, was biased.

Starting late Thursday night, May 2, students started posting Dominguez’s video sharing her side of the story along with #Pressure4DiamondBU and a flyer outlining the details of the demonstration planned on Friday, May 3.

The morning of Friday, May 3, Baylor’s verified Twitter account said the school was aware of allegations involving academic integrity and unequal treatment. Federal law prohibited addressing specific instances, but the school said it takes any such charges seriously.

Later that afternoon nearly a hundred students gathered in solidarity for Dominguez, who alleged that she was unfairly punished for her two-point extra credit assignment. The protest was fueled by Dominguez’s claims.

Wearing all black, students walked from the Houston Room in the Bill Daniel Student Center to the front of Pat Neff with signs, calling out and asking campus, “What do we want? Pressure for Diamond. When do we want it? Now.” Dominguez’s allies wanted to alert campus and ensure Dominguez would have a sit down meeting with President Dr. Linda Livingstone since she’s the sole person on campus who could overturn the Honor Council’s decision supporting Brown’s plagiarism report.

Baylor officials also shared that when they were alerted to Dominguez’s social media post, their records placed her at a different graduation date.

“At the time of the student’s social media post, we anticipated that she would be attending the University through August 2019, as she had not provided notice of graduation prior to that date,” a Baylor official said.

According to Baylor’s website, the deadline for declaring for graduation in May was January 18. A school official said Dominguez changed her graduation date from August to May on May 6, after the protest.

She also added new details to her story about eating in class, saying she left class to get her keys and then returned with food. Dominguez also admitted she did not know when she recorded audio of her meeting with Brown in his office that she was violating the school’s honor code.

It’s not clear whether Diamond Dominguez failed the course that sparked the protest, despite the fact that in the initial video and at the protest she said that she had been failed from the course, stating that, “Dr. Trey Brown reported me for plagiarism and failed me from the course.”

In a later interview, Dominguez clarified that she is on the verge of failing. She was not failed from the course and the grade she currently retains is a result of missing assignments and missing a test.

Final grades from professors are not due until Tuesday, May 14, and she admitted she has been attending that class again and will take the final exam. She told us she currently has a D grade and must get a C in order to graduate.

Brown declined to comment stating he doesn’t want to violate the federal rights of the student involved.