Markkula Center of Applied Ethics

Academic Integrity

Kevin's house.

Kevin is in his room on his computer. His friend Max is sitting on the bed. Both are trying to write papers for their English class.

MAX: (looking up from his writing): What're you doing over there, Kevin? You really need to get this paper done! This is no time to play games on the Net.

KEVIN: (still typing): Hold on...yes. I found it: the Web site that has papers on every subject you can imagine! This is so cool! Here, let's look up Catcher In the Rye. (he types it in) Dude, look at that! 455 matches!

MAX: What're you gonna do, Kev?

KEVIN: (sarcastically): Well, Max, I thought I'd sit here and stare at the screen and hope that my paper magically appears!

MAX: Really? Wow! The power of the Internet!

KEVIN: Oh, come on, Max! Here, I'm selecting a paper. Okay, now I print, and voila! I'm finished!

MAX: Kevin, I don't think that's such a good idea.

KEVIN: Not a good idea? It's brilliant! Look, I'm already finished while you have to think and write a paper!

MAX: Well, I just sat down and wrote it.

KEVIN: Yeah, well, you always find school easy. I can't just sit down and write eight pages. Your last grade screwed up the curve!

MAX: What if you get caught?

KEVIN: Give me a break, Max. Mrs. Adams is so stupid, she's not gonna figure it out.

MAX: I hope you're right.

The next day, in Mrs. Adams' classroom. Max is towards the back of the class while Kevin is in the middle. Mrs. Adams is about to hand out the papers.

MRS. ADAMS: I have in my hand your final papers. Remember-these papers count for 40 percent of your grade. I was very pleased---with one in particular. Mr. Anderson (points to Kevin), could I see you after class, please?

She hands out the papers.

MRS. ADAMS: (to Kevin) I won't give yours back just yet, Kevin. I would like to praise you after class on doing such a fine job.

Kevin turns to Max.

KEVIN: What did I tell you, Max? What did I tell you? She is so stupid she didn't know!

MAX: What can I say, bud? I owe you a lunch!

KEVIN: What did you get?

MAX: A B+.

KEVIN: Ha! Maybe this time my grade will screw up the curve!

MAX: Yeah, except it isn't even your paper.

The bell rings. Everyone but Kevin and Mrs. Adams leaves.

MRS. ADAMS: So, Kevin, you did a fine job on this paper--a terrific job!

KEVIN: Thank you, Ma'am!

MRS. ADAMS: So where do you find this subconscious need for self-gratification in Holden Caufield?

KEVIN: Huh?

MRS. ADAMS: Your thesis. Where did you come up with that? It's wonderful!

KEVIN: Oh, well...uh...I...

MRS. ADAMS: Do you think I'm stupid, Mr. Anderson?

KEVIN: Oh, no, Ma'am! Definitely not!

MRS. ADAMS: Well, while I'm asking you questions, do the letters "http//: papers.com" mean anything to you?

KEVIN: No, Ma'am.

MRS. ADAMS: Well, then, would you care to explain why that Internet address is on every page of your paper?

KEVIN: Oh, well, uh, I....

MRS. ADAMS: Nice try, Mr. Anderson. I'm sure you've read the school's stance on plagiarism. I've called your parents, and a meeting with Principal Johnson has been set up. Oh, yes, and before I forget, here's your grade (hands him the paper).

Kevin lets out a moan.

MRS. ADAMS: You have failed the course, Kevin.

KEVIN: But, Mrs. Adams, I didn't do this! !! It was...it was...MAX--yeah, Max made me do it!

Happy Ending

In Kevin 's Room.

KEVIN: Dude! I can't believe I found this Web site. Man, this is sooo cool!

MAX: I don't know, Kev. I don't think it's such a good idea.

KEVIN: Ah, c'mon! Watch. Click. Click. Print. Paper's done!

MAX: I still don't think that's a good idea.

KEVIN: Why not?

MAX: Hello?! Will you think about it? This is our English teacher we're talking about here. She knows your style of writing. She knows this isn't you.

KEVIN: She won't figure it out, Max.

MAX: Don't be so sure, Kev. Do you even understand what the paper means?

KEVIN: Sure I do! (reads) "Holden Caufield's need for self-gratification can be seen by the growth of his subconscious superego, a concept which Freud has....

MAX: You don't understand that, do you?

KEVIN: Sure I do. . .uh. . .self-gratification. . .and. . .uh. . .and the super egg. . .

MAX: You see?

KEVIN: All right. I guess you're right.

MAX: Of course I am. My grades screw up the curve, remember?

KEVIN: Very funny. All right. Let me find a pen and some paper, and we'll start on this thing.

MAX: We? I'm not writing the paper.

KEVIN: I'm not asking you to. "We" as in, you'll help me if I have problems, right?

MAX: Sure. Let's get started.

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