What We Think About Cheating

A Decaturian Collaborative Editorial

Cheating is easy to find. Plagiarism, Overcharging, Infidelity—all are just names we use to explain many types of dishonesty and deception.

We know it when we see life become a little better for one person and much more difficult for others.

President of the United States lies and evades consequences every day.


Factories pay workers pennies to make billions.


Rich families bribe universities so they’ll accept their children.


We see it’s more complex than copying the smart kid’s answers, layered now with new methods and consequences. When someone breaks the rules to further themselves, people get cheated out of either a sliver or a whole gaping section of their happiness.

Yes, it’s rampant, but what are we doing about it?

It’s more important than ever to act with honesty and integrity—but it’s equally important to be conscious of cheating and its causes. We need to understand why people break the rules.

Hardships people face might prevent them from playing fair. On the other hand, there’s the greedy kind of cheating. Even though someone might be a good person deep-down, we need to stop them.

Today, few people will tell you that cheating is okay, especially most students—who have everything to lose.

But people, crazy as it sounds, still do it. Many can argue that today, with technology’s aide, it’s easier than ever to cheat—especially on two things: your homework and your relationships.

It is the age of instant information. Snapchats from secret lovers disappear without a trace, screenshots of test questions can be shared throughout a whole class in seconds.

There really are more productive things to do, though. Most people will tell you that they don’t cheat because it takes the same amount of time to study. Instead of being unfaithful with your significant other, you can just spend your extra time with them or try to find fulfillment elsewhere.

Outside of infidelity, it’s rare to find just one person cheating you. It’s systems that are designed to cheat the vulnerable.

We’ve seen the system cheat those who came before us. Our parents or guardians had to battle through a poor economy caused by fraudulent investing. Many students are now more aware of how that behavior can hurt innocent people. That poor economy? That might seem like a thing of the past, but we still live in a precarious situation.

Many of us have been in situations where we’ve copied answers from a friend. We might have had every intention to study but between work, other classes, even home life issues, were unable to. Many students at Millikin balance school and work. Both take up time but only one puts food on the table.

Is that cheating or is that just trying to save yourself?

We shouldn’t just apprehend the innocent people who seem to be cheating either from plagiarizing, breaking small laws, or anything people do just to survive.

We need to be just as cautious of the reasons people cheat as of the constructs that cheat people out of happiness.

Millikin itself is on the good side, supporting ideas that help solve problems and level the playing field. Faculty members are here to support people who are being cheated and that’s exactly what they need to do.

Of course, Millikin isn’t perfect. It’s an institution, and some people who want money more than they want to help students grow may hold some of the reigns. That’s how it is everywhere.

However, there’s also more that students can do.

Cheating dies whenever the rest of the players reveal it.

Millikin needs help from people like us – students – who know what working hard is like and how much it sucks to be cheated.