Cheating – Changing Moral Standards?


Great philosophers, thinkers, and scholars have left behind a legacy for the future to thrive on and to contribute fruitfully to the development of moral, ethical, scientific, and social standards. Sadly, the modern scenario is witnessing a steady and gradual decline of the values once upheld. What I would like to emphasize and scrutinize is intellectual cheating which is quite rampant. Donald. L. McCabe, a professor of management at Rutgers in Newark in his inquiry into the reasons for cheating notes, “students do not consider it a big deal, saying it was just a modern fact of life.” (Travel. 2008).

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Necessity to cheat

The dire necessity to cheat is reflected in all walks of life and among several groups of people. In the 1980’s “spectacular financial scandals starring Ivan. Boskey and Michael R. Miken, and enough cases of scientific fraud and plagiarism, congress felt compelled to hold hearings on that problem too.” (Travel. 2008).

Prof. Donald. L. McCabe, known as a ‘cheating guru’ for his unstinted efforts to unravel the mystery behind this social malaise, portrays a rather dismal picture of the issue. Such academic misconduct is a serious breach of scholarly ethics. It is disheartening to note that where at least one internet source was demanded by professors earlier, at present they demand at least one paper source!!! All this means, academic integrity has been put to test and the reputation of modern-day scholars could evaporate.

Academic misconduct

Plausible reasons for academic misconduct could be the disillusionment with public institutions. Another reason is that scholars maintain a ‘silence is golden’ stance. Yet another glaring pitfall is that “lecturers are encouraged to treat their students as customers and hence, academic scholarship loses its inner meaning.” (Furedi 2004).

In an era where per capita income is on the rise and tough competition to get into graduate school and opt for top jobs is the prime motive, a sizable number of pupils inevitably cheat. One of the students from Prof. McCabe’s survey writes, “this isn’t a college problem. It’s a problem of the entire country.” (Travel. 2008).

Students’ agony persists as they confirm that the focus is not on learning but their grades. A grave point to note is that scholars nearing retirement, their wounded egos, ignore the students. It’s shameful to report that departments need to churn out degrees to justify their graduate programs. This approach is quite reprehensible. In this direction, Dr. Gunasekhar and Dr. Pasic were taken to task when they seemed to overlook students when they tended “to copy entire paragraphs, pages, and chapters” causing severe damage. (Re: Plagiarism University. 2006).


To conclude, “…don’t blame student debt, esoteric cultural norms, the internet or learning difficulties. It’s the university, stupid.” (Furedi 2004).

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Travel. The New York Times. 2008. Web.

Furedi, Frank. Times Higher Education Supplement. 2004. Web.

Travel. Opinion. The New York Times. 2008. Web.

Re: Plagiarism University. Chronicle forum. 2006. Web.

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