Thursday, March 13, 2008

Cheating in Econ?

If not for my rooommate who happens to be an Economics major, I wouldn't have known about the situation that's about to explode big time and turn the School of Economics (SE) into a huge mess.

I'm talking about the scandal involving some Economics majors who have recently been accused of cheating. These students belong, as you may put it, to the higher level of the student food chain. They have high grades to boot. They're expecting to graduate with summa, magna, or cum laude laurels on their heads. They're also doing well in their extra-curriculars, holding prestigious offices in established orgs in UP.

The question that must be answered now is this: did they cheat?

In an angry, passionate open letter to President Roman, Chancellor Cao, and Dean De Dios of SE, Bernadette Lopez, apparently one of the accused, writes:

"I have devoted my life to the pursuit of academic excellence and purposeful leadership. I compete with no one but myself. I have thus achieved to be a Summa Cum Laude candidate, a Features Editor of our college organ, a Vice-President of the UP Junior Marketing Association, and winner in various national competitions."

To prove this, the blog entry also lists her long list of achievements and grades.

She concludes:

"I did not cheat to get high grades. I have not cheated my way through college. All that I am and all that I have right now are the product of hard work and sheer dedication. Any logical person would agree that it is much, much easier to study for four years than to cheat for four years. My professors, past and present, and the people who really know me can vouch for my performance. Thus, I call for justice and due process. I call for the stop of trial by publicity and biased judgments. I call for the University’s commitment to merit and excellence in its proceedings."

Clearly, what she deserves is a fair, thorough investigation. Question the witnesses against her. Evaluate their accounts; see if they hold water. Before judging her any further, solid proof must be sought. Trial by publicity is no trial at all. People tend to rely on hearsay rather than concrete, tangible evidence.

I will not go so far as choosing which side I'll be on. I'm not in the position to do that. But I'm deeply saddened that something like this came up in the first place.

What we're faced with is a situation that can make or break lives, even restore or destroy reputations. But the issue also echoes a reverberating call: to stand on the side of credibility, fairness, and truth.

Of solid, unwavering truth that shall always prevail, no matter what we do to hide or twist it.


Blogger Unknown said...

Clarify ko lang po kasi the title might be misinterpreted; the alleged cheating did not happen in Econ but in a BA class, and was said to have involved econ majors. I'm just concerned that it might give a bad impression of the UP School of Economics. I believe it is not right for UPSE's name as an institution to be tarnished by the supposed actions of a few of its students.
Furthermore, though I believe that cheating must be condemned, I am not taking sides. But we must understand that there is also tremendous pressure and costs imposed on those who witnessed the alleged incident, which could be the reason why they have chosen not to pursue the complaint. It is also a fact that the people involved have some clout and influence within and without UPSE, which complicates matters because the witnesses are actually the underdogs in this case.
With regard to proof, I believe that the BA professor involved would not have conducted the retake of the exam if there wasn't some substance, at the very least, in the allegations. And while this may not hold much water for some, there is also anecdotal evidence from the classmates and batchmates themselves of the alleged cheaters. And if we talk about concrete, tangible evidence, what exactly do we mean? Do we need pictures or a video footage? Is not the testimony of the witnesses enough?
The problem however, is getting these witnesses to come out, which, as I have reasoned out, is a complicated matter.
We must understand that we are only hearing her side of the story, and the side of the witnesses has not sufficiently been disclosed. I am not judging anyone, but it is so easy to call for justice and truth when you know that the power relations are in your favor.

Sun Mar 16, 03:50:00 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beachbaby is a bitch, baby. She's such a cheater.

Fri May 09, 05:17:00 AM GMT+8  

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