By Lisa Schumaier
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday November 19, 2002
Students use the Internet, bribery, drugs and sex in last ditch efforts to improve their grades and save their skins
It's after 2 a.m. Your class is at 9 in the morning and, so far, you have typed nothing but a heading on your term paper. A pot of coffee later, you are frantically assessing the situation at hand. You just won't go to class, you tell yourself, and will finish the assignment during that hour.
But the professor does not accept late work. You are as desperate as Bush when the Florida ballots were being tallied. Just when you're about to give up and take the F, an idea comes to you.
On a tight deadline, college students uncover a creative side called "whatever it takes." The grade always counts, no matter how many times you tell yourself it doesn't. But how desperate are UA students when it comes to making the grade?
Morality, pride and ethical jurisdiction are set aside like your book report last Sunday night because there are no stipulations when it comes to survival of the fittest. Some of these stories are so scandalous, it makes you wonder if the decent mark was worth it.
The most common form of corruption among college students is using cheat sheets during exams.
Who could cheat?
· On most campuses, over 75 percent of students admit to some form of cheating, according to http://www.academicintegrity.org.
· In a 1999 survey of 2,100 students on 21 campuses across the country, about one-third of the participating students admitted to serious test cheating and half admitted to one or more instances of cheating on written assignments.
On any given day, students walk around campus with math equations on the side of their legs concealed by dirty Levis. There are students finding a seat at the beginning of lecture with dates pertaining to the French and Indian War on the inside bill of an Arizona baseball cap, and they have conquered the art of quick peeps while the professor is not looking.
"I think there are some areas of study where the object is to master a set of facts," said Roger Dahood, a professor of English. "In those circumstances, students are more tempted than in courses that put as much weight on what you do with the facts. Those skills are difficult to fake."
Some students may not think twice about cheating during tests. However, fraudulent papers require more preparation and strategy to pull off.
As a generation parented by computers, this scam can be successful thanks to search engines like Google and Yahoo.
Type in the title of that book you did not read or the subject you failed to research, and multiple sites offer information. These students asked Jeeves (at the Web site http://www.ask.com), and boy, did he give them some answers.
"There are a million Internet sites where you can get full essays off of them," one creative writing graduate student said.
Though some require a credit card to access the pages, other sites will put up the first three paragraphs without a purchase.
"I find ways to get them for free," the graduate student said.
Students are even cheating in how they cheat. The Internet is too easy a source to enable a swindle; but now that there is software to catch a paper copied from the computer, serious cheaters are retreating back to techniques of the olden days. They have to go out and con someone into writing a paper for them.
"I pay people with marijuana to write my papers," a creative writing undergraduate said.
Drugs make it easier to find takers.
The creative writing undergraduate said she had no problem falsifying her paper.
"If it's a Gen-Ed course, they have no idea what your writing voice is like," she said.
"I paid $300 to have someone write a 25-page paper for me," a student in the social sciences department said.
An illegal essay can go for top dollar these days, especially when the paper is as thick as "War and Peace."
"I can teach more about writing in a 200 word essay than in a 15-20 page research paper," Dahood said.
Don't be fooled. Cheating can be backbreaking work, especially when you're constantly looking over your shoulder. This business gives chronic stiff necks.
But this hasn't stopped some students. One student even coined the motto "If you ain't cheating, you ain't trying."
"All we do in the business college is cheat. We use creative ways to get around doing genuine work," a business major said.
One of those non-traditional tactics involves a crack pipe.
"I smoke crack in order to stay up for three days to study," a male MIS major said.
One student claimed crack enables him to focus more on his studies, particularly his math classes.
"I'm still studying, just on crack," he said.
Perhaps the most dedicated students are the hookers of cheating. Prostituting yourself is the only type of cheating endorsed by the teacher.
"I dated a preceptor and got an A on the midterm. I was failing and now have a B for the entire course," a female education major said.
"I seduced my TA," said an undeclared female. "I got him to fall in love with me. It turned really weird and I ended up dropping the class. My A didn't matter, but before, I was failing. So it was kind of for the grade but also personal pleasure."
Falsifying a relationship for a grade can work, but sometimes all that is needed is one sexual encounter.
"We just went in a room for 30 minutes, and after that my grade changed dramatically," said a male about an African-American studies class.
"It was in the office on top of her desk," a political science student said.
Although repulsed by the activity when looking back on the incident, the student stills feels like the A was worth it, considering he had a D before the sex.
"The class is over now, and when I see her I just kind of laugh," he said. "It's a good story."
Where there are difficult assignments and impossible tests, there are cheaters. Wherever there is money, drugs and sex, there are always people willing to help cheaters. The solution is simple: Get rid of those things and there will be no more cheating.
"I don't think students come to the university planning to cheat their way through," Dahood said. "They cheat out of desperation."