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Honor Council to host AI Week

Looking over at another student’s exam is a thing of the past. It’s all about looking down at a cell phone.
While the frequency of cheating at UM remains about the same, the ways in which students cheat are changing, according to Assistant Dean of Students Dayle Wilson.
Seventeen honor code violation cases were brought to the Undergraduate Honor Council last academic year, and the number has ranged between 17 and 20 over the past few years, Wilson said. Violations go undocumented if the professor chooses to handle the issue independently.
“The only trend is that they’re getting more sophisticated in their cheating,” she said.
At UM, plagiarism is the most frequent type of honor code violation, according to Erica Lewis-Blunt, the graduate assistant for the Undergraduate Honor Council.
“We still get the classic looking-at-someone’s-paper cheating, but more so, it’s using sources and not citing, or using other people’s papers, using people’s old lab reports and submitting them as your own,” said Lewis-Blunt, who is pursuing a masters in higher education administration. “It’s a lot of more premeditated than in-the-moment type of things.”
The Honor Council has also seen cases involving students taking tests for each other, storing information in their cell phones, and even hiding answers in the bathroom, according to Wilson.
Junior Kelsey Terhorst said he thinks academic dishonesty is a problem on campus, specifically in testing environments.
“I’m an international studies major, and we write a lot. So there’s not a lot of cheating in our department, but when I was a bio major freshman year, there was a lot of cheating going on,” Terhorst said. “It was a rampant thing.”
Terhorst would see people cheating on tests, having other people take tests for them, and bringing answer sheets to the exam. Many of these instances occur because of pressures that students are experiencing, according to Wilson.
“It’s the pressure that, ‘I can’t get less than an A. I need to graduate. I need to get into med school,’” Wilson said. “And they succumb to those pressures.”
Students turn to cheating and use the excuse that they have taken on too many responsibilities.
“They say, ‘I’m busy, I’m overextended, I work,’” Lewis-Blunt said.
With these increasing pressures, students must realize that a good grade should not come at the expense of sacrificing their morals, according to Lewis-Blunt.
“I think you have to be true to your values and understand that if you get a B on this and it was your work and you did the best that you could, that’s okay,” she said. “I think that’s one thing a lot of students don’t realize. That it’s okay.”
Senior Julian Jowise agreed that pressures on students may lead them to cheat, but he also said that cheating may correlate to student interest.
“It mostly comes down to how much you want out of the class,” he said. “If it’s an introductory course or it fills up a requirement, you just want to get through it. … If you’re really just interested in the class and the subject matter and you want to actually learn about it, you’re probably going to put in the time to study and won’t cheat.”
Consequences like being kicked out of UM are the second most popular reason for students to choose not to cheat, according to an online survey of 59 students conducted by The Miami Hurricane. Moral qualms are the first. Sanctions issued by the Honor Council range from a warning to suspension or expulsion. Between 1986 and 2009, 103 students were suspended by the Honor Council, but only 14 were expelled.
Members of the Honor Council will also often recommend a related workshop, like a session with the Writing Center on citing sources if the violation involved plagiarism, according to Wilson.
In an online survey of 59 UM students, 22 percent responded that they are not familiar with the honor code, and 44 percent are only somewhat familiar. The Honor Council will be hosting its annual Academic Integrity Week starting Monday to help familiarize students with the honor code and the role of the Honor Council.
“It speaks to the core value of leveling the playing field that everyone has the same opportunities to success and that no one has any more of an advantage than any other individual, especially not by cheating,” Wilson said.

February 14, 2013

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Lyssa Goldberg

Lyssa Goldberg is online editor of The Miami Hurricane. She is a senior majoring in journalism and political science with a minor in math. She has interned at Mashable and the Miami New Times, and her work has also been featured in The Huffington Post.


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