Contract Cheating in the News

Topics: Blog, News

I’m starting to get worried. While we wait for educational and governmental leaders to do something about contract cheating, the industry is expanding and the providers are becoming less ashamed and more brazen. Our silence is equaling permission and the contract cheating providers are seizing the opportunity to become legitimate.

To be sure, some educational and governmental leaders are doing something about contract cheating. In the UK, the Education Secretary asked PayPal and Google to refuse to service contract cheating providers, the Westminster Forum just recently held an event focused on contract cheating, and the Quality Assurance Agency has been busy working on the problem as well. In Australia, the government is passing legislation to make contract cheating services illegal, and the universities have really stepped it up with their efforts to prevent and respond to contract cheating in direct and pointed ways.

At the same time, the Canadian Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities is refusing to step in saying that contract cheating is merely an issue to be addressed by individual institutions and students. And, of course, there seems to be no political or educational leadership on this issue in the United States.

And we’re seeing the impact of our collective silence.

When Dave Tomar first talked about his contract cheating provider days back in 2010, he hid his identity as the “shadow scholar” because he knew his actions were immoral – there was shame. Now, contract cheating providers are making their identities known – even when they are a graduate student themselves.

When the industry was getting started, the websites used to hide what they were doing. They would claim that they were only providing students with sample paper. Now, they are much more brazen. They admit that they are doing work for the students to submit and they are using seduction methods to lure students into using their services.

And students are beginning to believe that contract cheating is commonplace and once there is a critical mass that shares the belief, it might as well be true.

The industry is growing as a result. And the impact of our silence is that contract cheating will become a normal and accepted way to receive a university degree.

I urge all universities and colleges to join us in the fight against contract cheating by doing one simple thing – participating in the 4th International Day of Action Against Contract Cheating (IDoA). It will be happening on October 16th, 2019. Start planning now by seeing what has been done in the past and rallying the troops on your campus to help you with your day of action plans.

And stay tuned on more information about the 2019 IDoA – advice and instructions are coming soon. On just this one day, let us speak with such a loud and unified voice that the silence is broken. Perhaps then our educational and political leaders will hear us and feel compelled to join us in the fight.

About the Author
Tricia Bertram Gallant, Ph.D. is the author of Academic Integrity in the Twenty-First Century: A Teaching and Learning Imperative (Jossey-Bass, 2008), co-author of Cheating in School: What We Know and What We Can Do (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), editor of Creating the Ethical Academy: A Systems Approach to Understanding Misconduct & Empowering Change in Higher Education (Routledge, 2011), and section editor for the Handbook of Academic Integrity (Springer, 2016). She is the Director of the UC San Diego Academic Integrity Office and Board Member of the International Center for Academic Integrity, and has been an ethics lecturer with the Rady School of Management. When Tricia blogs, the content is hers and should not be attributed to her employer or ICAI.
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