An estimated 80 percent of college students admit to cheating at least once in college, according to plagiarism.org. At Cabrini College, 74 students have been caught cheating since the Academic Honesty Board began to use the Academic Honesty Violation Forms two years ago.
According to plagiarism.org, a poll conducted by US News and World Reports found that 90 percent of students believe that cheaters are either never caught or have never been appropriately disciplined. Two years ago Cabrini’s academic honesty policy underwent a change to make it more consistent and the punishments tougher.
Amanda Brown, a senior math and secondary education major, who is on the board and was a member of the committee that rewrote the policy, said, “As a board, we realized that there needed to be serious consequences for academic dishonesty. We decided that the college needed to take a stronger position against it so that the students would understand the seriousness of their actions.”
Cabrini College’s handbook states for a first violation within a specific course, the faculty member will communicate to the student the charge of the violation of the Academic Honesty Policy. The faculty member will then complete an Academic Honesty Violation Charge Form. For a second violation, the same procedure is followed, but the student will fail the course and, depending on previous charges may go before the Board for a hearing.
Despite the measures that the academic honesty board has taken to strengthen the policy, students still cheat. Senior special education major Carmine Cesare said, “I feel that people cheat because it’s very tempting. If your friend is real smart and gets good grades and offers you their work, it’s hard to say no.”
Not all students are as easily tempted to cheat. “Kids are more aware now that there is an academic honesty policy,” Dr. Harold Halbert, an assistant English professor on the board of academic honesty, said. “They’re talking about it and they’re worried about it. My freshmen are terrified, but they are still making mistakes,” he said.
Some students opt to cheat because they don’t do the work. Linda Jeon-Baptiste, a sophomore elementary and special education major, said, “Students cheat because they are not interested in the subject manner. Why bother doing the work if you find the content boring?”
Dr. Charles McCormick, the dean of Academic Affairs, said, “Anecdotally it appears that the word is getting out, but anecdote isn’t hard data.” He thinks that students still cheat because some students can be too driven and are worried about not getting a good grade, so they resort to cheating.
Many students find ways to cheat. Casare said, “It’s easy to cheat if you have a class that your friend already had and the teacher gives you the same test. It can save you a lot of time.”
Dr. Harold Wingerd, an assistant professor of education who has sat on the academic honesty board for two years, said, “Students and faculty are more aware of the policy relating to academic honesty much more than three years ago.” He said that even though there are websites like Turnitin.com, to catch cheaters, there are still websites like schoolsucks.com, where students can buy papers. “The internet has made it so much easier to plagiarize and cheat,” Wingerd said.
“We should have an honor code. It holds people and it’s true, because if you have that sense of honor around you, you won’t cheat,” Chris Friel, a junior religious studies and philosophy major who is a student member of the Academic Honesty Board, said.
McCormick said that Cabrini has really pushed the policy to the point where he has heard that it drives the students crazy, which he said was a good thing. It shows that students, whether or not they are cheating, know and understand the policy and the consequences that their actions will have.
“I think most students at Cabrini do not cheat because they are proud of their work,” Wingerd said. “We’re not trying to catch people doing something wrong, we’re trying to prevent it from happening.” Wingerd said that in the last three years, Cabrini has raised the level of academic honesty on campus, which is good for everyone. It is a direct connection to Cabrini’s core values. He hopes that the board can create a “campus culture in which all students take pride in their work and would never have to resort to cheating.”
It is still uncertain whether or not students continue to cheat. Halbert said, “Either people are cheating less, or they’re getting better at it.”
Posted to the web by Ryan Norris