Column: Academic dishonesty a major concern to credibility of Spartan degrees
Year after year, Michigan State University prides itself on being a world-class institution. From our nationally recognized academic programs, to our consistently impressive athletic teams, Spartans set a standard. That being said, it is time we re-commit ourselves to a better standard to address widespread issues across the institution dealing with cheating and plagiarism, or plainly: academic dishonesty.
Universities nationwide continuously battle a growing population of culprits who find pride in using work rightfully belonging to their peers. Often known as cheating, this has become an easy way to complete work while stressed or in a hurry. Classrooms have become enhanced to allow for student collaboration, but not yet advanced enough to prevent students from cheating on a blue book exam. At Michigan State, evidence shows a new type of academic dishonesty growing. Thanks to easier technology distribution, students are selling class notes to peers. Not only is this action severely academically dishonest, but illegal as well. Unfortunately, this and other versions of dishonesty relating to academic success at Michigan State are only becoming more prevalent.
It is time our university community adopts a student-led initiative: the Spartan Honor Pledge. The Spartan Honor Pledge will lay the foundation for creating a higher standard of academic integrity at Michigan State University. As students, we need to take the lead to ensure the value of the degree we all work hard to achieve is upheld. From the time a student enrolls at our institution, to the turning of their tassel at graduation, all individuals deserve the right to call their diploma their own. A degree from Michigan State should reflect nothing less than success and independence in original work, accurate results and ethical research.
The Spartan Honor Pledge calls for the adoption of a campus-wide honor statement. The honor statement describes a commitment to upholding the values of Spartans who walk a path of integrity. A statement that asserts the importance of owning one’s original work, no matter the grade it may receive. Furthermore, it is a commitment to recognizing the values which foster a “Spartan of Honor,” encouraging all Spartans to develop a foundation of ethics that will serve them well as they leave our campus and join the millions of other Spartans across the globe. This is the premise of a statement that reaches far beyond a student thinking in the “here” and “now.”
As a diverse collective at Michigan State University, an honor pledge will not only form a communal standard for honorable work, it would also bring unity to students from many cultural backgrounds. Our university community is welcoming to individuals from around the world, but efforts to be students of the world must be fostered at our institution. Methods for a student to attain his or her degree may vary, but what shouldn’t be a variable is the credibility of the degree process.
For the sake of Sparty, it is time for us, as a student body, to realize academic dishonesty is a major concern. Students of yesterday deserve to know their degrees are still worth as much as they were at graduation. Students of tomorrow must ready themselves to be a part of culture that engages students in creating their own successes. It is time to stand together, as Spartans of Honor, to rightly understand the need to uphold honesty and integrity in all that we do.
Lorenzo Santavicca is the Vice President of Academic Affairs at ASMSU. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.