Quite Thought Full
Searching for lost integrity
Published: Thursday, September 6, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 6, 2012 00:09
Success can mean different things for different people. For some, success may be a large salary and a nice car. For others, it may mean a well-fed and happy family. For college students, more often than not it means making good or passing grades in order to earn a degree.
And therein lies a slight difficulty with some college students. The way in which they achieve success may not always be that they earned it. Earning requires hard work, dedication and, most importantly, honesty. Some students cheat to simply gain success. Unfortunately and disgracefully, more students are cheating to get their degrees handed to them rather than earning those degrees through work and with their integrity intact.
On Aug. 30, news of the largest cheating scandal in “living memory” at Harvard University broke out. Dozens of Harvard undergraduates are being investigated for cheating in “Introduction to Congress,” a core class of nearly 250 students, on their final exams. A great deal of confusion and overall chaos about the specifics of what the teacher and the graduate fellows of the course permitted as acceptable student collaboration over the take-home exam has ensued. But it appears as though “Man’s Greatest University” and its students are discovering loopholes to their success and using those loopholes to their full advantage while ignoring every student code on academic integrity.
The investigation is still underway but consequences for those found guilty could range from a warning to a forced withdraw from the university for a year. And some of the undergraduates in the course were seniors, so the latter consequence could also mean giving back their degree and maybe even losing the jobs acquired after graduation. Although such consequences may have a harsh negative and possibly life-changing impact on some students’ lives, I believe it is entirely necessary to ensure that academic integrity is a respected and necessary requirement for academic success.
Harvard University and its grandeur are commonly thought of as the cream of the crop in international higher education. It is a name anyone would like to put on their resume. And although anyone will admit to knowing the occasional student who found a way to cheat on an exam or plagiarize an essay, what does it say when even the highest standards give way to cheating.
Could it be that the pressure to be the best is coming down harder on the students attending this university? Or does it simply mean that these arguably exceptional students are not willing to do the honest work and in the process are willing to give up the university’s and their own personal credibility for a higher standard of success?
In a world where academic integrity is sometimes lost in the pursuit of making the Dean’s list, take pride when you do make the effort to do your best and honest work. Success achieved in any way is great, but success achieved honestly is the only success you can truly call your own.
Katie Walsh is a senior English and philosophy major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.