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Academic integrity is high priority

As students, we are often very busy and life can get pretty hectic, but there is never a good reason to cheat or cut corners. We are in school to learn both skills and information, building our ability to think critically and increase our knowledge. If we take easy outs, we’re wasting our time and that of our classmates and teachers.

A few weeks ago, a teacher in a small Kansas town found that an extraordinary number of her students had plagiarized work for a major project off of the Internet. She failed the students, causing uproar amongst the parents, who demanded to have their children passed, even though the students had not done their own work. The school board in the town ultimately voted to pass the children and the biology teacher resigned in protest. Several of her fellow teachers vowed to resign at the end of the school year in support of her actions.

The actions of the teacher were laudable, and the parents and school administrators who reversed her decision behaved irresponsibly.

At this very moment, we are all being inundated with an ever-increasing load of papers and midterm exams. It can be a bit overwhelming, especially for students who take on more than they can handle, have jobs, or are parents.

But stress never justifies the compromise of academic integrity.

The students in Kansas have the unfortunate distinction of being newsmakers at a time when distinguished historians and scholars are also being called on their accuracy, their failure to cite sources, and their academic irresponsibility.

We must hold ourselves to the highest standards at all times, despite temptations to do otherwise.

When we choose to make other activities top priority and let our school responsibilities fall by the wayside we must live with the consequences. There are situations that warrant on extension on a project; a death in the family, sickness and so on. As college students this is the time when most of us will learn about responsibility. When professors allow students to forgo their responsibilities thinking that they are helping a student, they are in fact doing the opposite. As women we need to learn to stand firm on our own in order to make it in this ruthless capitalist system.

We cannot be coddled. We cannot be cheated of the very thing we come to college to learn about: how to account for our actions. There are many of us juggling work, family and a busy social life. Yet those people mange to keep their priorities in order. It’s all about choices; if we choose to procrastinate or pick some other action instead of schoolwork, we will face the consequences.