Catching Them Redhanded

    Mark J. Doorley,   Ph.D.   Villanova University, PA
he other day a student of mine violated the code of academic integrity 
in my ethics class.  The irony of such a violation occuring in an ethics 
class was a bit beyond his recognition.  What he did understand was that 
I was hurt by his action.  As I told him, it was beyond me why he would 
cheat in order to cover up his own inabilities especially since he and 
I had a history as teacher and student.  I taught him last semester, 
and we developed a bit of a relationship, at least enough of one that 
he ought to have come to me with his difficulty rather than violate his 
own integrity as a student and mine as a professor.  

There is a lot of talk about how academic integrity is losing ground in 
today's institutions of higher learning.  Perhaps that is so.  Whatever 
the case may be, one of the casualties of violations of academic 
integrity is the relationship between professors and students.  Yes, my 
student, by his actions, undermined the academic integrity of my 
university and my course.  Yes, he deprived himself of a learning 
experience by fabricating his work.  However, and I sometimes think most 
importantly, his actions severely tried my confidence in my students and 
in my ability to establish and maintain relationships of trust and 
respect with them.

Indeed, lying is the most destructive of acts.  What ties us together 
as humans is our ability to trust each other.  What happens when trust 
is left on the floor in tatters?