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Eller College must push integrity

Illustration by Arnie Bermudez
By Jessica Lee
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday September 16, 2003

You are in a large lecture classroom. The instructor hands out a pop quiz over material you did not have time to study. Sitting next to you is a student who appears (out of the corner of your eye, of course) to be circling the answers quickly, with some sort of uncanny confidence. You stiffen with uncertainty as the instructor says, "You have one minute to finish." In that moment of panic, you slip a peek and copy your neighbor's circled genius.

A student has to do what a student has to do to make it through a semester, right?

Exactly. And that means study.

The Eller College of Business and Public Administration is setting an example that all UA colleges should follow by not only cracking down on cheating, but instituting the value "integrity matters."

It is no secret that many students cheat at least once during their college careers. And we can be sure that the cheating epidemic is not solely within the business and public administration community.

Jessica Lee
Associate Editor

As reported in the Sept. 8 Wildcat, the Eller College has founded the new "E-tegrity" program "in an attempt to help students become more sensitive to issues of ethical and academic integrity." The program consists of a student board, a standardized code of academic integrity on all class syllabi, a voluntary student integrity oath, a new process of investigating and disciplining caught cheaters as well as encouraging faculty to check student work against for plagiarism.

It'll take some time to determine whether the new integrity policy is working. But the point is that steps have been made to challenge the cheating norm many students take with them into the classrooms.

While other departments are already lagging behind the challenge-the-cheaters-bandwagon, it is important to note the significance of the Eller College paving the way to topple conning pseudo-academics.

Crimes committed in the business world largely go unnoticed by both law enforcement and the public eye. Of course, we all know about Enron, Worldcom and everyone's mom, Martha Stewart. But there is a much longer list of corporate corruption, as enumerated in a recent report, "The Cost of Corporate Corruption," by American Family Values, a non-profit organization whose mission statement is to be a "strong voice for middle- and low-income families on economic, health care, and consumer issues."

The report listed, by name and crime, other companies that should have incited huge scandal headlines as well Global Crossing, Adelphia, Xerox Company, Tyco, Arthur Andersen, KPMG, ImClone, Merrill Lynch & Company, Merck, Halliburton and (our local favorite) Qwest Communications. There are numerous non-profit organizations that dedicate their livelihoods to watching the corporations that bring us the products we cannot live without, even if the producers are involved in white-collar crimes. Corporate Watch ( and are just two examples.

Whether you are strongly opposed to the current Bush Administration or not, it is a fact that business and government are lying a bit too close on a very large bed. The evidence is not hard to find just look at Vice President Cheney's closed energy meetings with top executives of the energy powerhouses.

In addition, it was reported in a March Wall Street Journal article that the Bush administration had prepared to award contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Halliburton and Bechtel Group to help rebuild post-war Iraq. Cheney is the ex-CEO of Halliburton and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has been connected to Bechtel since the Iran-Iraq War in 1983.

Perhaps it is not so ironic that public administration and business are nested within the same college.

It should be worrisome that universities that train many individuals who eventually enter and dominate the business world are not stricter when it comes to cheating. If a student will cut ethical corners to get a good grade on an exam, what values will that student follow when pursuing business ventures in the "real world?"

The Eller College should be worried about its image. Twenty-seven percent of all (caught) academic integrity cases at the UA last school year were students within the business school. Considering that last year the Eller College had approximately 17 percent of the entire undergraduate student body, those business and public administration students are either cheating more or they are not at sly as the average student.

Imposing a stricter set of academic standards is not an easy task, and the Eller College is the appropriate college to grab the student-cheating monster by the horns and lead the student body towards achieving academic excellence by hitting the books.

Students within the Eller College: Beware. Hopefully this new E-tegrity program will pound into the future business and policy leaders of America the message that ethics and personal responsibility matter.

Jessica Lee is an environmental science senior. She can be reached at,.

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