DISSENT: Cheating is never truth

Editorial Board

Illustration / A. Panzo
Illustration / A. Panzo

Academic dishonesty, or cheating, is a concern for any school. Malvern Prep, held to especially high moral standards, can be no exception. The dissenting view of the Editorial Board believes it is important for Malvern to continue the current policy regarding academic dishonesty. We believe that the definition of cheating in the student handbook should not be changed, and that punishments for cheating should remain at the current level.

Under Malvern’s current definition of academic dishonesty, students are forbidden from claiming work as their own when they have used resources outside of what the teacher allowed. We encourage teachers to allow for more resources to be used on an assessment or homework, such as collaboration with classmates or online resources. It is detrimental to our education to simply redefine cheating to always allow for collaboration or the use of other resources.

Many believe that outside of schooling there are few situations where one isn’t given access to all of the resources there are. Tell that to a pilot who has no air-to-ground communication, or to a nuclear reactor operator who needs to remember in a split second how to perform their tasks. Although these situations are extreme and unlikely, most workers are presented with similar situations each day. A stock market floor trader needs to know how to buy and sell without collaborating with her competitor, and a businessman can’t look up the correct way to respond to his client mid-meeting, if at all. Independence and self-reliance are valuable skills in any job. The only careers we could think of in which one is ever given access to all of the world’s knowledge are those of scientists and researchers.

One of the words seen in Malvern’s mission statement and motto is Veritas, which is Latin for truth. It’s up there with Caritas (Love) and Unitas (Unity). These are visible to anyone who drives onto campus and are also visible to anyone who eats in the cafeteria. It’s almost impossible to ignore these values, as passive as they may seem. Cheating is something that is not and has never been compatible with Veritas. Although students are divided on whether our current definition of cheating is wrong, there is one truth behind all forms of cheating.  It is and has always been a way of lying. By cheating, we forsake that precious value of Veritas, and we waste one of the most valuable lessons we are taught in our entire journey through Malvern.

Redefining cheating and allowing collaboration for the sake of collaboration teach nothing to a student. Honesty in one’s own work is, and will always be, one of the most valuable skills a school can teach.

Read the Editorial Board Majority.