National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version

Fall 2008


Published in Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council 9:2, Fall/Winter 2008. Copyright © 2008 by the National Collegiate Honors Council.


Academic misbehavior occurs among all students—gifted students as well as the general student population. I believe that cheating, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty are supported by a pattern of rationalization similar to that which supports other common but questionable social behaviors. In the following discussion, I will compare academic dishonesty with driving in excess of the speed limit and offer some comments about the pervasiveness of similar behaviors in other aspects of our lives. I wish to make the point that all of us, faculty included, probably perform some actions that violate the highest standards of behavior. Although I believe that academic dishonesty is unacceptable, I want to make a plea that faculty look to the factors underlying its existence and that they deal with student infractions temperately.