Thursday, December 10, 2009

academic integrity

i am morally caught by a small but significant situation happening on our campus; a young woman who has been accused of cheating, has been expelled by our honor commission, and her friends have organized a campus-wide protest on the matter. this young woman has supposedly cheated in the past–to which she confessed–but this time she says she is innocent, and has been given an unfair trial because of past prejudices.

this is a serious matter indeed. academic integrity is of the highest importance at gettysburg–it was our student body themselves who initially created the honor code, and have upheld it to this day. i'm very proud that our students, and certainly i did when i was a student, consider honesty and integrity intrinsic to education. so part of me is concerned that there may have been some personal bias or skimming of the law in this situation, though i trust that the honor commission is acting in the way it thinks is most fair.

and that brings me to the second point: i'm more proud that the student body feels that, in the spirit of what the honor code stands for, they should actively protest its misuse if it fails to protect individual academic work, as it should. if there has been a mistrial, then it should be contested. and if it's still proven that she is guilty, then, like john miller's philosophy, the challenge and reaffirmation of the verdict can only strengthen the system that we hold so dearly.

do you think i'm over thinking the matter? how can that be, when the lessons you learn in college are what you take with you into the "real" world. i'd rather have the next generation of the workforce be very deeply concerned with ethical business and action, than not.


Hippo said...

I don't think you are overthinking the ethical code. It's certainly central to education, and without it grades would be meaningless- not even an indicator of work or what was learned.

Agatha Wells said...

thank you! that is my point exactly. :)

it's not just for the classroom!