Prevalence of Dishonesty Running head: HONESTY ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES, RULE VIOLATIONS The Prevalence of Dishonesty on Campus at Converse College Amy Phillips Converse College Abstract The aim of this study was to find out how much the honor code and/or civitas is valued and followed among the students. We found that Civitas violations were more common than honor violations. Students at Converse College were less likely than most other college students to cheat, plagiarize, etc. The Prevalence of Dishonesty on Campus at Converse College Many colleges have policies regarding honesty on campus. These policies encompass a wide range from academia to campus living. Policies include restrictions on plagiarism, cheating, alcohol use, access to dormitories, stealing, and many others. According to Mitchell, Toomey, and Erickson (2005), administrators at some of the schools surveyed felt that they had restricted access to alcohol by not allowing beer kegs to be delivered to on campus housing and by not allowing on-campus advertisement of off-campus alcohol. While this may help to curb the exorbitant use of alcohol on campus, it does not solve the issue. While alcohol is a major issue on many campuses, more attention is often paid to cheating and academic dishonesty. Carter and Punyanunt-Carter (2006) show that many teachers have various punishments for cheating, some being as simple as telling the student to keep their eyes on their own paper to more strict enforcement such as sending the student before the college review boards for punishment. When looking at students at Converse College, the honor board and civitas are programs which help to enforce honesty on campus through and peer enforcement. If students know they will be caught, they are less likely to break a rule. However, if students feel that they will not be caught, they are more likely to violate campus rules both academically and in campus living. Methods Participants Subjects used were female undergraduate students at Converse College. There were a total of 70 participants ranging from freshman to seniors. Participants were selected through convenient sampling, gave informed consent, and were reassured of their anonymity. All participation was voluntary. Apparatus/Materials For this experiment, we formulated a questionnaire consisting of 22 questions two of which contained seven sub-questions. These questions asked participant age, knowledge of honor code and civitas, number of times they had been given 24 hours, number of times student had violated either code, and also gave several examples where participants were asked if they thought it was a violation or not. Procedure Participants were asked to fill out an informed consent before completing questionnaire. They were reassured that surveys were completely anonymous and that they were free to leave at any time. Questionnaires were completed at various locations on campus. Results The data were analyzed using a Pearson relatedness correlation with an alpha level of .05. When analyzing perceived knowledge of the honor code versus correctly answered questions of what was or was not an honor code violation, there was a positive correlation of perceived knowledge versus actual knowledge with a Pearsons r of .390. The analysis of Civitas knowledge versus perceived knowledge also produced a positive correlation with a Pearsons r of .448. Percieved knowledge of honor code and civitas together also produced a positive correlation with a Pearsons r of .801. The average age of participants is 20 years and two months. Percentages of students surveyed who have been found guilty of violations are as follows: Plagiarism 1%, Cheating 1%, Other honor code violations 1%, Alcohol 4%, Visitation 4%, Stealing 1%, and other civitas violations 0. Students who have violated these rules but were not found guilty or given 24 hours were much more prevalent, with their percentages as follows: Plagiarism 1%, Cheating 11%, Other honor code violations 7%, Alcohol 54%, Visitation 27%, Stealing 2%, and other civitas violations 4%. These results are shown in figure 1. Discussion The results found in this study show that students at Converse College are likely to be more comfortable breaking the civitas code than the honor code. It also confirms that violations are much more common than the sanctions and penalties show. Also those students who felt as though they were familiar with honor code and civitas, when asked questions about violations, they were more likely to correctly identify violations. References Carter, S., & Punyanunt-Carter, N. (2006, September). Acceptability of Treatments for Cheating in the College Classroom. Journal of Instructional Psychology, 33(3), 212-216. Retrieved April 29, 2009, from PsycINFO database. Mitchell, R., Toomey, T., & Erickson, D. (2005, January). Alcohol Policies on College Campuses. Journal of American College Health, 53(4), 149-157. Retrieved April 29, 2009 Figure Captions Figure 1. This figure shows the relationship between violations which have been reported and punished, and violations which have not been caught.
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