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Thursday, September 21, 2023


ASK A COOG: Cheating divides friends

Dear Coog,

Help! I’m in a pickle that is quickly turning more sour by the minute. I have a class with a very close friend, and I am suspicious that my friend may have cheated on an exam. Worse still, I think this friend is thinking about cheating on the midterm. While I have no proof whatsoever, I am worried. In no way do I like this, and my friend knows my feelings well. I don’t know what to do. If I voice my suspicions, my friend could be expelled if it really happened, and if I don’t, I know our wonderful, long-time friendship will be strained forever. I have tried telling this person how bad the repercussions would be if it happened, but they are still in denial. I am concerned if I don’t push harder, my friend will not heed my warnings. Coog, please help!


A frazzled friend.

Dear Frazzled,

Ultimately, you have to do the right thing, but you must first decide how you can handle the information you know already.

If you choose to not say anything to anyone, you will have the weight of the possible deed forever, as well as the knowledge that you are going against school policy regarding this type of situation. It would be unfair for your friend to make a decent grade with no effort while others are genuine in their studies and take the grade they’ve earned.

In not telling of your friend’s possible indiscretions, you are cheating your fellow classmates, yourself and the professor of the opportunity of getting the most out of a class.Education does not come free – it is the grand prize in the marathon of college life. Why should your friend get the gold when all others work hard to come in somewhere after first place? It just isn’t right.

Depending on how strong your feelings are for your friend, you have a difficult decision ahead. The best thing you can do for your friend is to alert the professor of your suspicions, and perhaps this alone would cause the professor to watch more closely on the next exam. By doing this, the pressure has been shifted away from you and has been placed in the professor’s hands. If possible, an anonymous e-mail could be beneficial in achieving this.

If you can’t bring yourself to tell the professor, then you must figure out a way to talk your friend more. Work harder to find out the exact consequences your friend will face if he or she attempts cheating. If you know your friend well, maybe mentioning his or her parents and their disappointment and anger would have enough impact to change your friend’s mind.

Should this situation be a reality or a suspicion, the result will be the same in the end. If a UH student has cheated, it will eventually be found and there will be a price to pay.

According to the UH Student Handbook, in sections 1.08 to 1.10 of the academic policies on page 12, students and teachers alike are responsible for reporting academic dishonesty.

In offering this advice to the situation you are facing, it would behoove you to seek help from the professor. Your friend isn’t being a good friend in return if he or she expects you to hold on to this information.

Cheating is a sad, but common occurrence on college campuses. It is up to fellow classmates to report and the professors to look out. Cheating and plagiarism are wrongdoings that should not be rewarded with leniency.

Take the heat off yourself, my frazzled friend. This could very well be something you can’t, and shouldn’t, be forced to handle. I hope this helps, and good luck.

Until next week,


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