Monday, December 13, 2010

Take That, Plagiarism Crisis

Today at 10:30 am I took my final exam in Intellectual and Cultural History. The room was filled with maybe 20 students, packed close together in tight rows of desks, as our professor handed out those dreaded blue books. He wasn't planning to stick around while we took the test, he said.

"I went to the University of Virginia, and back then, it was an insult if the professor stayed in the room for an exam," he said. "It was an insult to our honor and honesty as gentlemen." Then he added in his curmudgeonly way, "Of course, they recently had a big cheating scandal there."

 We opened our blue books and he headed out as promised. Everyone hunched over their papers, working diligently and so quietly that all I could hear was the clock ticking and people breathing. Not a word was exchanged as we scribbled away and then, one by one, left our finished exams in a neat pile on his desk. I don't even think anyone made eye contact. We took it for granted: we're Notre Dame students and PLS majors. We don't cheat. We just don't. I can't even imagine what a class would be like where people would cheat, because if anyone in the room had tried, the rest of the class would have refused. That's just not how we do things at Our Lady's University.

Today I am grateful for academic honesty, just one more thing to love about Notre Dame. :)

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