Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Friday, March 15, 2013

Is Academic Integrity Out of Date?

I suppose there have always been a few students who cheated on tests or plagiarized their reports, but cheating has become a very big problem in colleges today because of the Internet. It's so easy for students to plagiarize from the internet because the availability of materials is unlimited, and it's so easy to copy whatever they want. There are even websites such as Cheater.com and Term Paper Warehouse that make term papers and other resources available to students for a nominal fee.

On my Saturday radio talk show called Eagle Forum Live, I interviewed a professor at Rutgers University. He is the founding president of the Center for Academic Integrity, a consortium of 200 colleges and universities from around the country who have joined in a united effort to promote academic integrity among college students. He has helped to develop a new Code of Student Conduct at Rutgers and he has worked with several colleges in reviewing their student polices about cheating.

Harvard University has the reputation of being a very elite college that admits only very smart students. In an average year, only 17 Harvard students are forced out for academic dishonesty. Yet Harvard announced that it issued academic sanctions against 60 students and forced them to withdraw from college for at least two terms because of a cheating scandal that involved the final exam. The class was called "Introduction to Congress" and it was widely seen on campus as a class where attendance is optional and it is easy to get a good grade. The suspensions included a large number of varsity athletes. The episode has given a black eye to one of the world's great universities.

I'm sorry to say that plagiarism is not confined to students. There are some rather notorious and embarrassing cases where professors plagiarized their theses and scientific work.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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