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Cheating scandal leaves students in doubt

Earlier this year, a cheating scandal rocked one of the nation’s most prestigious higher learning institutions— Harvard University.

At present time, Harvard’s Administrative Board is investigating 125 undergraduate students for cheating on a take-home final exam.

According to Boston.com, nearly half of the students in an introductory government class are suspected of jointly coming up with answers or copying off one another. Groups of students appear to have worked together on responses to short questions and an essay assignment, violating a no-collaboration policy that was printed on the exam itself. The topic has sparked curiosity about what would happen here at Drake University should individuals get caught cheating and what the university is doing to prevent it.

First year Alexi Delathouder believes that the Harvard scandal was the result of “pressure to keep up academically, socially, and within the community, resulting in the easy way out and people don’t always see the consequences.”

All of Drake’s colleges have different methods of dealing with cheating, though the consequences are pretty similar across
campus.

At the School of Journalism and Mass Communication (SJMC), students are exposed to many preventative measures, starting with an introductory first-year J30 course “on academic and professional ethics,” said Kathleen Richardson, director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Faculty members also validate information by checking sources and doing online searches for plagiarism. Should a person be found to have cheated, consequences would vary from a verbal reprimand to possible expulsion from the school. They don’t currently plan on changing their processes in response to the Harvard scandal, but will do so if it becomes necessary at Drake.

The College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (CPHS), also has a variety of preventative measures put in place. The Pharmacy School’s Associate Dean for Student Affairs, Renae Chesnut, said some of these include syllabi with Honor Codes reminding students of “their professional commitment to integrity,” proctors during exams and a variety of test forms. SafeAssign is also used to check work. If a student is thought guilty they “may request an Honor Code hearing.” Course instructors are in charge of disciplinary action, with no pre-set consequence.

When asked her thoughts on cheating, first-year Rachel Dupree said she doesn’t believe it’s as much of a problem at Drake, “because there’s less pressure but I think it still happens.”

Sophomore Hanna Howard says the temptation is definitely there.

“I’m sure people cheat. It’s easier living with people studying the same things, especially with the FYS program. You’re living on a whole floor of people studying the same things as you,” she said.

Danielle McKay, a first- year pharmacy student, is deterred from cheating because of how strict the Honor Code is.

“If you see someone breaking the Honor Code and do not report it, then you are breaking the Honor Code yourself,” McKay said. She believes there is a lot of peer pressure not to cheat because “you can kicked out by fellow students” for not complying with the Honor Code.

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