Are you a cheater?

Kelley Stoklosa

Infidelity is our society’s dirty little secret. “Cheating is wrong on moral, social and ethical grounds,” said Prabin Regmi, business graduate student. “It breaks families, relationships and trust.”

But thanks to Tiger Woods and John Edwards, we know people are cheating.

If cheating is so wrong, yet everyone seems to be doing it, maybe the definition of infidelity should be examined.

A survey of 25 Kent State students was conducted. Twelve of those surveyed were women and 13 were men. Each student was asked to answer yes or no to a series of questions about infidelity.

Every student surveyed said they thought sex with someone other than their significant other qualified as cheating.

• Other physical contact such as handholding or cuddling was considered crossing the line by more than half of the surveyed students. Ten of the 13 people who answered yes to this question were women.

• One hundred percent of students said they thought a long-term emotional relationship was cheating.

• 60 percent said they did not think being drunk is an excuse for cheating.

• Kissing another person romantically was considered cheating for 76 percent of those surveyed.

• 72 percent would be upset to learn their significant other had been sending flirtatious text messages or had been using other forms of social media to flirt with someone else.

• Only 24 percent said they would consider staying in a relationship after their partner cheated.

The consequences of cheating are printed at the bottom of every syllabus on campus, but that doesn’t stop dozens of students from submitting work that is not their own each semester.

The best way to avoid cheating accusations is to understand what plagiarism really means. Students come to college unprepared to write scholarly works.

“Sloppy work, failure to differentiate between a student’s work and a source’s work is unacceptable, but may say more about the high school education,” said David Odell-Scott, chair of the philosophy department.

Students should understand what a cited paper looks like. It is OK to use someone else’s words as long as you have given that person credit.

“We need to shift attention from focusing on words to ideas,” said Writing Commons Director Jeanne Smith.

Smith said she sees students all the time who feel strange about citing someone else’s words in a paper, but they don’t realize that it is normal in an academic setting.

Ask for help

Professors would much rather help students with proper citations than take disciplinary action.

“As a teacher, it’s my job to show them how to use sources. You see more problems when you don’t help with drafts,” Smith said.

The writing commons in the library can also help students.

Evaluate the situation

“Student’s need to ask the question, ‘Will this give the appearance that I am cheating?’” said Odell-Scott.

Earbuds dangling around the neck, visible cell phones and wandering eyes are red flags during an exam.

Electronic devices are commonly banned from exams for good reason.

“Cell phones are just like having a text book,” Odell-Scott said.

Professors are wise to advancements in media. A professor can also find anything a student can find online.

Odell-Scott said he once had a student submit a paper that looked very familiar to him. It was his paper.

“We have the same access to the Internet as you do and often better researchers,” he said.

Contact features correspondent Kelley Stoklosa at [email protected].