AC speaks out about cheating


In academic environments, cheating is a serious offense. “Scholastic dishonesty,” as it is deemed in the Student Code of Conduct, “shall include, but not be limited to, cheating on a test, plagiarism and collusion.”

“Do you cheat?” When asked, most students said “no” without missing a beat. “It’s wrong. Unethical,” one student said. “It’s morally wrong, but at the same time, I can see the appeal of it,” another said. “I believe in hard work and honesty,” another said.

While most claimed “no,” there were a few wide-eyed and hesitant students who answered “yes.” Though the lines of cheating can get a little fuzzy, “just little peeks at the textbook,” as one student put it, definitely qualify. “Obviously, people say that you shouldn’t do it, but you do whatever gets you through the grade,” one student said.

“I think most students assume that the consequences are severe,” said Bob Austin, vice president of student affairs. The penalties, as outlined in the Student Rights and Responsibilities catalog, vary from “reprimand” to “permanent suspension from the institution.” For those who would like to see the lines of scholastic dishonesty a little more clear, the Student Code of Conduct describes what amounts to cheating in the Student Rights and Responsibilities catalog, which can be found on the AC website or at any AskAC counter on campus.

“Let the record show that I’m opposed to it,” Austin said in regard to cheating. “From what I can see, it doesn’t appear to be rampant, but I suppose it does happen. “I’m the student discipline officer, and I can tell you that I receive very few reports from instructors regarding student cheating. I think in most cases, if an instructor has concerns, they normally address it with the student first and I never hear about it. In other cases, the instructor may be concerned about cheating but not have enough evidence to raise the issue, so I think that’s part of it.

“I think that some students cheat because they haven’t prepared and they’re looking to take a shortcut. They aren’t interested in the material and possibly have little or no passion for learning.
“However, I think that there is another group of students who may be accused of cheating and they don’t realize that what they have done would be considered by others to be cheating. The whole notion of cheating, from what I’ve seen in the last 10 years, has become very blurred.

“I think that part of the confusion for students is they’ve grown up copying and pasting things. Everybody in your generation understands what it means to copy and paste, and you think of things like Facebook, for instance, where you see some nonsense on the Internet and if you want to repost it, you just do it. You don’t think twice.

“I don’t think people take a step back and say, ‘Am I trying to represent this as my own material? Am I taking the time to think through this and make sure that I’m citing this and giving somebody else credit for it?’ That kind of thing has become blurred. It’s really blurry.”

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