University of Virginia

Cheating in college

There is cheating at Harvard.  This might sound like gambling at Rick’s Café, but it actually is quite embarrassing for the elite school.   125 students are suspected of collaborating on a take-home test.  Harvard is vowing to study the problem.  The behavior was deemed “unacceptable”, but that doesn’t necessarily equate to punishment.

We’ll see how Harvard handles this but most high schools in our area wouldn’t need to “study” the problem of kids caught cheating.  One novel idea Harvard is considering is to establish an “honor code.”

Contrast this with a recent article on Davidson College, and its honor code:

Incoming students must sign the Davidson Honor Code, pledging to refrain from stealing, lying, or cheating on academic work. They also must report any honor code violations; failure to do so is itself a violation. Infractions are brought before the Honor Council where punishment is decided.

“We take it very seriously,” says Tianna Butler, a senior from Salisbury, Md. “You’ll see laptops on the lawn, or somebody will leave their MacBook in the library and go into the other room to take a nap. People don’t steal your stuff here.”

Very few colleges actually have an honor code.  When you are considering schools for your college list, how important to you in an environment of refraining from stealing, lying, and cheating vs. an atmosphere of “cheat or be cheated?”

More on the Harvard cheating scandal here and here.  By the way, the name of the course that the 50% of the students are suspected of cheating on?  Introduction to Congress.