By Sarah Lehr
Kenyon’s Academic Infractions Board (AIB) reviewed a record-high 19 cases last year. AIB Chair and Professor of Philosophy Yang Xiao said this semester’s numbers are not quite up to that level, but are still “disturbingly high.” As of Dec. 4, the AIB has heard five cases, making this semester’s average number of academic infraction cases per week about 0.3 cases. The average for the last academic year was around 0.5 cases per week.
Associate Provost and Professor of Sociology and Legal Studies Ric Sheffield, who oversees AIB cases, said increasing academic infractions are not unique to Kenyon. “It’s fairly clear … that what’s going on here is happening around the country,” Sheffield said. “There seems to be a trend in the direction of more frequent violations of academic policy.”
The reason for this increase is not clear. It is now easy to “cut and paste information without citing it or to purchase a paper from online,” Sheffield said. Advances in technology may not be the sole cause, however. “Others of us, myself included, are concerned about what we perceive to be heightened pressures,” Sheffield said. “The literature is really suggesting that the highest-level students are more likely to cheat because they have the perception that they can’t afford to get a B.”
Plagiarism is the most common type of infraction at Kenyon, according to Sheffield. “In most cases, I don’t think it was students’ intention to plagiarize,” he said. “I just don’t think they were terribly meticulous or perhaps they weren’t knowledgeable about the expectations of college writing.”
Xiao urged students to “remain vigilant” about plagiarism and to “treat it as something as serious as stealing.”
In the spirit of this vigilance, the AIB launched a campaign to raise consciousness about academic integrity earlier this week. The Board plans to leave pamphlets dispelling myths about plagiarism on tables in Peirce Hall. One such myth is that it is better to cheat than to earn a zero on an assignment. In actuality, however, in addition to the consequence of compromising one’s integrity, the academic penalty for cheating at Kenyon is usually greater than the consequence of not turning in that assignment at all. Oftentimes, a convicted student will receive a zero on the assignment and the Board may double or triple its weight.
With finals approaching, Xiao urged students to manage time effectively and to take care to avoid cheating out of desperation or lack of forethought. “Sometimes people might do things they otherwise wouldn’t if they are under great pressure and stress,” Xiao said.
Sheffield echoed this sentiment and said, “I know it seems silly and I hate to be that preaching adult, but you need to sleep. You need to eat. You need to exercise.
[starbox id=”Sarah Lehr”]
Comments for this article have closed. If you'd like to send a letter to the editor for publication, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.