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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

The Big Q Blog

Once a Cheater...

Does cheating in one area of your life mean you are more likely to cheat in others?

Devon thought it might be difficult to make friends when he went to college, but three weeks into his freshman year, he had already found two of the best friends he could ask for. They did everything together, from basketball to homework. And, as luck would have it, Devon randomly shared the same class as one of these friends, Cory.

In that class, Devon noticed that his friend cheated profusely. Not only would Cory plagiarize assignments, but he would also use his phone to cheat on tests. Still they were friends; whatever Cory did in class was his own business and shouldn’t matter to the friendship, Devon thought.

One night, however, the three friends were playing poker, and Cory kept getting good hand after good hand. As much as Devon wanted to call it coincidence, he couldn’t help thinking of Cory cheating in class. On a later day, Devon played against his two friends in basketball; Cory claimed he was fouled even though Devon didn’t see it.

Now, Cory has asked to “look over” Devon’s essay for their class--just to give Cory an idea of where to start. Devon wants to help his friend out, but worries about what Cory’s real intentions might be.
Is Devon just being paranoid? Would it make sense for Devon to trust his other friend more than Cory? Does cheating in class reflect anything about your character outside of it? 

A Framework for Ethical Decision Making

Cheating in College is Widespread - But Why?

What is Plagiarism, and is it Always Bad?


Photo by theentiregospel available under a Creative Commons license on Google Images.


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