Please Take This L

by Brandon Quinere (CE ’19)

Kylie Jenner was right: 2016 really is the year of realizing things. Perhaps it’s because of the current political climate or the never-ending social unrest in our country, but in any case, there is something about this particular year that has given me new perspective. Take for instance my role as a college student, a part of my daily life that I have never really thought about in grave detail up until this past school year.

How can you expect to succeed in the workplace,
where trust and responsibility are key,
if you have no foundation in academic integrity?

It hit me when I discussed post-college plans with my boss this past summer, only now the future that I’ve been planning for myself at a young age was not that far away anymore. Coming to terms with how close you are to your career really makes you appreciate the honor that comes with receiving a higher education. It truly is a gift to be given this great privilege, which is why I find it disgusting when others blatantly disrespect it. Cheating, in particular, has become somewhat of an epidemic at Cooper, with more and more students falling victim to this pathetic act.

We’re long past the years of storing a cheat sheet inside a hollow eraser. With the invention of the group chat and other means of quiet communication, classroom cheating has, unfortunately, become easier for students. It’s quite unfortunate to see students succumb to cheating in order to get by in school, yet the unapologetic demeanor with which they do so is certainly the most baffling. Besides, cheaters have good reason to be apologetic for their behavior, as there are severe consequences if they are caught.

According to the Code of Conduct, which can be found in the Course Catalog, cheating and similar “acts of fraud” are Category A offenses. Students guilty of such violations are subject to a number of different punishments, especially of the highest form. “For these categories of violation, the sanction will ordinarily be suspension or dismissal,” as explained in the Code of Conduct, clearly stressing the long-lasting effects of even a single stupid action. The Engineering Student Council plans on releasing a statement before finals to address actions needed to take place in order to combat cheating at Cooper.

It’s about time for everyone to start taking their education seriously. Cheating is unforgivable in all forms, but when you’re this close to the future you’ve spent all those years of schooling to prepare for, it’s downright idiotic. Think about it: how can you expect to succeed in the workplace, where trust and responsibility are key, if you have no foundation in academic integrity?

To professors who do not enforce penalties on students that cheat: you are negating the hard work of students who took the time to actively prepare themselves in your class. It’s true that we are old enough to decide for ourselves what is right or wrong, but you’re entrusting us with too much responsibility here. There are unfortunately some students who could care less if they cheat; they even shamelessly do it to your face sometimes! You know that one student that asked to use the bathroom in the middle of an exam? Surprise—probably cheating!

And to all students: please understand why you volunteer yourself to be a student every morning. This is not just an extra thing you do on the side to keep yourself busy. If it hasn’t already settled in, college is where your education actually starts to have a purpose. To show disrespect to the very institution you worked so hard to get into by cheating is a hard slap in the face to so many who have helped you get to your privileged position. It’s okay to take that one L on your midterm; you’ll lose a lot more otherwise. ◊

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