By John Rogan
Saint Vincent faculty have reported an "increase in academic honesty violations," according to an email from Academic Dean John Smetanka. The message encouraged students to “not injure [their] own integrity and miss [their] chance for well-earned proper pride” in the face of the epidemic.
The email was intended to report that the number of cases of academic dishonesty has risen since the move to online instruction, Smetanka said, and to point students who were tempted by this choice to sources of support.
“We wanted to reiterate [that] alternatives are available, help is waiting from instructors, advisors, and the Academic Affairs office,” he said.
Smetanka explained what seems to be the cause of the increase.
"Cheating short-circuits learning, ultimately harming the cheater most, but it also does damage to the entire community." - John Smetanka
“This is likely due to both the added stresses, both direct and indirect, of the pandemic, and the added opportunities for academic dishonesty that come with alternative assessments and remote instruction,” he said.
Smetanka explained that acts of academic dishonesty hurt the actor the most and tarnish the integrity of the community, adding that academic dishonesty cannot be justified by any circumstance.
“Being part of a learning community means that you commit to the values of that community,” he said. “Acts of academic dishonesty subvert the foundations of educational institutions. Cheating short-circuits learning, ultimately harming the cheater most, but it also does damage to the entire community.”
"Being part of a learning community means that you commit to the values of that community." - John Smetanka
“To be in harmony means to develop the character and integrity to be leaders in your families, communities, and professions,” he said.
He explained that acts of dishonesty create discord.
“They are sour notes that disrupt the melody of life,” Smetanka stated. “In challenging times, character and integrity become more critical – these are times to act with dignity, courage, and strength. The Saint Vincent community is here to support you; take advantage of that support.”