ASI’s new Honesty Policy good for students

Jason Okamoto

I am no genius, nor do I believe that the majority of any impressive piece of work comes from one?s so-called genius. When creating exceptional work, habit and dedication should be credited. However, every once in a while, somehow or someway, it is possible for a students to rise above their former level of achievement and surprise their professors. Call me a romantic, but I would like to believe that this is what every single ASI board member envisioned when they unanimously voted in favor of the Policy on Academic Honesty (formerly known as the “Dishonesty Policy”).

This piece of legislation is still in the negotiation process with the Faculty Senate. The proposal, assembled by Equity Relation Officer, Robert Cabiness, basically says that students, as well as faculty, are responsible for upholding academic honesty. The focus here is primarily on cheating and plagiarism.

If a student is suspected of cheating or plagiarizing by their professor, it is expected that the professor would approach the student about it. However, if there is a disagreement, then the student and professor must duke it out in front of a committee consisting of two students and one faculty member, selected by ASI.

This process is not to replace the current CSUS Student Appeals Process, but instead will act as a speedy alternative. Cabiness claims that there are Grade Appeals that are still going on from May of this year.

The major differences in the processes, is that with the former, a student can be given a failing grade based on his or her supposed cheating. In the latter, the student?s grade is put on hold, until decided by the committee. Also, with the new Policy on Academic Honesty, it is the professor?s responsibility to present proof that the student cheated or plagiarized, rather than the student having to prove her innocence.

Setting the two copies of the documents that I had next to each other, the new policy seemed more attractive simply because it was about fifteen pages shorter than the appeals process.

This policy appeals mostly to the “freshman side” of me, although I am technically a senior. I have been told that this process “works for the students,” and I totally think that to be true. To this extent, it is unfortunate that we have lost faith in our own faculty. That is why I doubt that some professors would like it. From my experience, I can honestly say that I could trust most of my professors not to screw me over, however, I have felt that there were some who had it in for me. Some wanted to see me fail because of the way I looked, or talked, or walked, or spelled their name (so what if I capitalize my name and accidentally forget to do the same for the professor). Students should be able to feel comfortable in the classroom knowing someone is on their side.

On that same note, it is not crazy for professors to distrust students. For two semesters, I had the same film professor, who warned us about his skills to spot plagiarism. He indeed caught students plagiarizing, two from each semester.

As for myself, I have done my share of cheating, but I?ve been out of high school for quite some time and do not see the need to reminisce about it. In college I have been fortunate enough to have good teachers who are more capable when communicating concerns with me. But this is because I am a Communication Studies major; but if I had another, more sterile, major like Computer Engineering, I?d hella cheat. And that?s just being honest.