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September 12, 2010

1 in 4 university students regularly cheats

CANADA/UNITED STATES - According to surveys conducted in the USA and Canada, 1 in 4 American university students actively cheats on a regular basis and 1 in 5 Canadian university students also regularly cheats. How do they do it? Hidden notes, hiring other people to write essays and a variety of other methods.

Here's some examples from the University of Toronto, which has become beset by a plague of cheating students:

1. One U of T female student paid for an essay, but left the credit card bill among the pages when she handed the essay in.

2. One U of T economics student was caught whispering questions to a forbidden cellphone taped to his arm which was transmitting answers from a friend sitting at a computer.

3. One philandering male U of T student convinced his two girlfriends to write his essays and tests for him, but when they found out he was cheating on them they turned him in. He was accused of cheating 67 times and expelled from the University of Toronto.

4. An U of T tutorial assistant charged three students $1,500 each to slip them the answer sheet when he escorted them to the washroom during the exam. The TA was suspended for five years.

5. One U of T student plagiarized an essay, forged a doctor’s letter saying he was too sick to hand in a second essay on time, which he also plagiarized, followed by a third plagiarized essay. He was recommended for expulsion.

6. One U of T student agreed to write an essay for $120 for a female classmate, but then plagiarized the essay so his classmate failed the course. When she tried to get a refund, they had a fistfight and the university learned he had been selling essays for years. He was suspended for five years.

7. One U of T student plagiarized an essay from a website for a course called Philosophy of Language, in the same term as she plagiarized an essay for another course. Essay topic? Artificial Intelligence. (Talk about dumb eh?) She was suspended for three years.

8. One U of T student submitted an essay written originally by a professor at Purdue University. She was suspended for two years.

Unfortunately cheating at the University of Toronto is so rampant they only bother to expell the people who are caught in the most severe cases. They are turning a blind eye to students who are getting away with cheating.

But severe cases of cheating are on the rise. In 2008-09 there was 38 severe cases, up from 21 cases in 2007-08. A new report is expected out soon which will show the rise during 2009-10.

According to another report, “Liars, Fraudsters and Cheats” by the Canadian Council on Learning, three out of every four Canadian students admits to cheating at least once.

Part of the problem is the internet. Its far too easy to find someone else's academic paper, change the title, the name and then hand it in without changing anything else.

U of T has become proactive in their attempts to discourage, detect and deal with everything from plagiarism to paying for papers. They've even hired a full time watchdog to help instructors catch cheaters. In the last three years since the watchdog has been on the job campus charges for cheating have more than doubled to 388 in 2009-10 from 182 in 2006-7.

"Cheaters never prosper? Bullsh*t. They get away with it so much and are rarely punished its reached a point that we're basically rewarding their bad behaviour by ignoring the problem."

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