Students admit to cheating, plagiarism

Rita Forbes

Would you tell a stranger if you had ever cheated?

In an informal survey conducted in the Lions’ Den and the cafeteria, only a handful of students declined to share whether or not they had cheated in college. Out of 54 total respondents, 26 freely admitted to either cheating or plagiarizing at some point in their college careers. Twenty-eight, just over half, said they never had.

Students reported secretly bringing note cards with them to tests, sneaking peeks at other people’s answers, and copying and pasting parts of their papers.

“I have neck problems,” said one student, indicating that he looks at other students’ answers during tests. “My neck gets stiff, and I’ve got to move it around.”

Many students feel that plagiarizing a paper is a more serious offense than cheating on a test.

“Both are stealing other people’s work,” said Seth Mayoral, sophomore nursing major, “but plagiarism has more punishment to it. I’d get an ‘F’ if I plagiarized, but just a warning if I cheated.”

Just as motives for cheating abound, so do students’ reasons for staying clean.

“Cheating is wrong,” said freshman undeclared major Pamella Conley. “Plagiarism is stealing. I can come up with my own ideas and words, so I’ve never been in a situation where I felt like I might have to.” The thought of a higher grade is not enough to tempt Lauren Bates, senior marketing and international business major.

“I don’t cheat,” she said. “I just take my ‘F’ gracefully.”