Sonography students level claims against Ill. program

Five students enrolled in the sonography program at the College of DuPage in the Chicago suburb of Glen Ellyn, IL, have publicly charged the program's leaders with unethical conduct, including a claim that the program issued grades for a course that allegedly was never held.

The students allege that the program's leaders bullied some students and displayed extreme favoritism. They also claim they were required to register and pay for a required course on sonography clinical issues that was never held, but they received an arbitrary grade to show they "attended" it.

The students have gone public with their claims in a press release sent to the media, and they have submitted complaints to the college's board of directors and to the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). The students are calling for the resignation of DuPage's sonography program director, Terrie Ciez.

The College of DuPage offers an associate degree in sonography, as well as Diagnostic Medical Imaging Sonography (DIMS) and Diagnostic Medical Imaging Vascular Sonography (DIMV) certificate programs.

The students were enrolled in the fall 2012 semester, during which they claim that a clinical education course listed in the college's curriculum was never held. However, every student in the program paid the full tuition rate for the course and a lab fee totaling more than $375.

After complaining to administrators, the college reimbursed the five students for the tuition and lab fee and removed the grade they received for the course from their official transcripts. However, this was not done for any of the other students enrolled, according to Liz Franke and Kari Conforti, two of the complainants and spokespersons for the student group.

Franke told that she sent the group's complaints to CAAHEP, and she was told they would be forwarded to the Joint Review Committee on Education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography. CAAHEP Executive Director Kathleen Megivern confirmed that she had forwarded the email, but added that the complaint should have been filed formally online at the CAAHEP website.

Megivern said she expects the sonography review committee would investigate the issues that fall within the organization's purview. If the committee decides to investigate, the students would be told to file a formal complaint with CAAHEP, she said.

"We don't conduct investigations at any level based on press releases," she emphasized.

DuPage spokesperson Joe Moore said the college administration is looking into the allegations made by the students.

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