Academic Integrity Policy: Another way to stand up for yourself

Kellie Gleeson

Put this image in your head: It is the day before that big final exam in Chemistry. You have been studying for this test for days. You spent the entire night before looking over your notes and the text. You go into the test a little nervous and a little stressed out, but you know that you are ready for it. When you are taking that exam, you look around and notice that one of your classmates is copying every single answer from another student.
When you get your grades, that classmate is bragging about how he never even looked over the chemistry and still managed to get a 93 percent. You are pretty ticked because you worked so hard and got an 85 percent.
Does this situation sound familiar to you?
Cheating occurs every day in a college classroom and hardly gets reported to authorities or teachers. Students have to learn to stand up against those who steal the knowledge of others. This is the goal of The Academic Integrity Committee (AIC), and Professor Kathy Cooke.
Kathy Cooke, history professor and member of the AIC, in conjunction with the rest of the AIC, are trying to get a new Academic Integrity Policy passed.
“It will be more rigorous and student friendly,” Cooke said.
The main goal in this revision is to raise awareness. The policy currently states that no cheating is allowed, you must hand in your own work, and if caught, you will be faced be a teacher or by a committee.
“I don’t think students even realize what actions fall under the category of cheating,” said Jackie Mendez, a sophomore legal studies major.
“Many students think that copying their friend’s homework is not cheating. Also, I think that sometimes students justify their cheating. They tell themselves that the class that they are taking is just a required class, and has nothing to do with their major so it’s better to actually study for the classes that relate to their major, and just cheat in the classes that are not.”
Even though people know about this policy it is rarely enforced. Professors and students are aware of the cheating that goes on in classrooms but some are too afraid to stand up and say anything about it.
Cooke and the other members of the AIC want students to be able to stand up for themselves and state their concerns. They hope revising the policy will cause more students to take a stance against cheating.
The new policy, if passed, will ensure that more students are involved in enforcing the policy. They want all cases to be brought up in front of a committee, so that students will see that they are being treated as equals and so that their case will be fair. The AIC wants more students and teachers to show responsibility and report these incidents when they occur. In the past five years, only two cases have been reported.
If passed, both student and teachers will look over all incidents. This committee will be called the Academic Judicial Board. The majority of the people involved will be students. For each case, there will be a three person investigation board consisting of two students and one professor or faculty member.
“This will give students power and this will make students feel like they are trusted and work together. This will show students that we have confidence in them and help promote integrity” Cooke said.
If this policy is passed, more students will be able to fight for their rights as students. Don’t let people just get by in college. Make sure that you stand up for yourself, and the only way of doing is reporting cases of cheating and by following the Academic Integrity Policy.