Students Rule the School
Published: Thursday, October 25, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 25, 2012 10:10
Fifty-Five percent of surveyed students indicated they had witnessed another student cheat, but only 10 percent said they themselves had cheated in a class.
Last year, members of the Associated Student Government of Santa Clara conducted a comprehensive survey of students’ opinions regarding academic integrity issues.
The survey also found that 51 percent of the 574 students surveyed said they would support a student-initiated and student-operated academic honor system, while only 14 percent said they would not support such a system.
What this finding reveals is that we as students are not holding our peers accountable for academic dishonesty in the classroom, and we are not alone. Faculty members are not holding students accountable, either.
Last year, the Office of Student Life received only 20 reported cases of academic integrity violations from faculty members. This number is down from 45 reported cases during the 2010-2011 academic year.
Faculty members are required to report all cases to OSL under the Academic Integrity Protocol, but as OSL admits, the number of reported cases is surprisingly low.
I believe Santa Clara needs and must have an honor code. Rarely are students involved in the decision-making process that determines the sanctions for violations.
If we as students are given the privilege to sit on Peer Judicial Boards that hear cases involving violations of the Student Conduct Code and are expected to hold our peers accountable for their behavior outside the classroom, why shouldn’t we be given this same privilege and opportunity within it?
In my four years here, the attitudes surrounding cheating among undergraduate students have seemed apathetic. The general consensus I have observed is that most students know cheating happens, but few rarely ever talk about it with their peers.
Professors will address the issue briefly at the beginning of most classes but then will not speak of it again throughout the quarter. Cheating becomes an issue that most students turn away from, and incidents are handled directly between faculty and student.
An honor code could change that. By giving students shared responsibility with faculty members for determining sanctions. It can raise awareness of cheating on our campus and can encourage students to hold their peers accountable. An honor code that students support can put pressure on faculty members to accurately report violations to OSL.
This year I am asking students to support the initiative to adopt an honor code and reaffirm this university as one that truly prides itself on its students’ conscience, competence and compassion.
On Nov. 14, there will be an Ethics at Noon in the Wiegand Room in the Arts and Sciences Building that will allow students to discuss the actual text of the honor code.
During week 10, there will be another Ethics at Noon to provide students with an opportunity to propose alternatives to the adjudication process Santa Clara currently has for academic integrity violations. The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics is sponsoring both events. I would appreciate your presence and valuable contributions to these discussions.