Laziness, Desperation or Something Else?


Tisha Herrera/ Fourth Estate

How Mason students feel about cheating on homework and tests


Editor’s Note: All names in this article have been changed to protect the sources’ privacy.

Every semester, Mason professors warn their students not to cheat or plagiarize on any assignments or tests, but to abide by the Honor Code as stated in every syllabus. The consequences are quite severe, including the possibility of expulsion. With the high risk clearly stated on the Office of Academic Integrity website, what motivates students to continuously disregard the rules

Lily Joyce, a junior majoring in marketing, explained why students tend to cheat less in college, compared to high school.

“Now, you’re paying for your education. People are also very scared of Honor Code violations, and they get caught so easily, so that there’s too much fear [that prevents them from cheating],” Joyce said.

Some students, like junior and English major Brian McCook, report cheating on smaller assignments.

“Whenever there’s an online quiz or online assignment,” McCook said, “even though it’s been explicitly stated you can’t use your textbook or online resources, it’s a natural inclination to pull up the internet and search.”

On the other hand, some students believe that it comes at their expense when others cheat.

Gabrielle King, a senior who majors in cyber security, takes a firm stance against cheating.

“It’s bullshit because these students are getting the same grades in the class as I do, so it’s not really fair. In one of my classes, a bunch of students didn’t get caught sharing answers to the homework,” she added. “They passed the class, and ended up hurting the students who did try.”

Conversely, other Mason students take a more flexible view on cheating.

Tyler Beard, a senior who majors in rehabilitation science, does not believe cheating is good, but he pointed out different reasons as to why students might be tempted.

“I don’t think cheating is … right, but sometimes people just don’t see another option. I think there’s a lot of pressure on students to really keep up their GPA and keep their scholarships or even get to another school of their choosing. Mason gives students a good opportunity to get away from those habits,” Beard said.

Ava Weeks, a junior at Mason, also does not believe cheating is necessarily wrong.

“I’m a huge goody two-shoes, but at the same time, I would never judge someone for cheating. To me, I don’t know their circumstance. I don’t know how they’re doing in the class or anything that’s made it unfair to them, so I don’t think it’s fair of me to say to someone else, ‘You’re wrong for doing this,’” Weeks said.