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Honesty still best policy

Jan. 30, 1997

Harsh penalties await those who choose to cheat, plagiarize

By Keirsten Layne

Lariat Reporter

Cheating on a test, copying a homework assignment, using parts of an encyclopedia entry in a paper - everybody's done something like that.

But even a small deviance from completely honest academic behavior is a big problem, said David Myers, the student chair of the University Honor Council.

'People need to realize their small choices really matter,' Myers said.

Many people do not even know an honor council exists, but the University takes the honor code very seriously. A violation of the code could result in failing a course, probation, suspension or expulsion, Myers said.

In high school, teachers would reprimand students for cheating, but college is different, Myers said. College is the last step before entering the 'real world,' and a student's moral choices will affect the rest of their life.

'Baylor students should do the right thing because it is right, not because they fear the punishment,' Myers said.

Founded under Christian tenets, the University expects students to live up to a high standard, Myers said.

'Baylor's reputation is held by the students,' Myers said. 'And lives can be affected by the mistakes they make.'

The Honor Council does not examine many cases, only between one and three each semester, but each case is difficult.

Myers suggested that more emphasis should be placed on student behavior during Welcome Week to let the incoming freshmen know the University will not tolerate dishonesty, and ignorance to the policies is unacceptable.

Students can fail a class for detected plagiarism, and most problems occur in freshman English courses, said Dr. Maurice Hunt, professor and acting chair of the English department.

There is not a major problem with cheating, Hunt said, but there is concern that students need to consider their actions, knowing that dishonesty is wrong.

Nine students and six faculty members make up the Honor Council. Students are chosen by application, and each classification is represented: one freshman, two sophomores, two juniors, two seniors, one nursing student and one graduate student.

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