Over the course of our two quarters of CTW I have realized that our society thrives on cheating. Despite all the negative connotations that we place on cheating, nearly everyone continues to do so and it is amazing just how prevalent it is in nearly aspect of life. From the individual to entire organizations, it is impossible to resist the temptation to take the easy way out by cheating.
In the first quarter, we delved into the wrongdoings of the food industry in their attempts to cheat their customers of the truth in order to make a greater profit. The most significant portion of this occurs in the animal farming industry in which large factory farms do everything in their power to conceal the atrocities they commit in order to provide meat to the industry. Through videos such as “Meet Your Meat” by PETA we can see just how poorly the animals are treated. I’ve linked the video below so you can get an idea of some of the treatment I am talking about. The industry fears that if people discover the truth about them because organizations like PETA made more videos like this one then they would be out of business. To combat this they continually deny (and lie) about these occurrences, calling them isolated incidences and claiming to have dealt with them. They cheat their customers of the truth so that they can continue to exploit the animals and avoid losing profit.
The CEO’s and other important figures of these organization’s choice to cheat likely developed from their education. In my second quarter of this course I surveyed my peers to discover how prevalent cheating is at Santa Clara University, and more importantly what kind of students cheat. Along with the negative connotations that surround cheating comes the idea that those who cheat tend to be those who are too lazy to work, and cheat just to get by. Cheating is not often associated with success, yet what I found is that the correlation is more prevalent than many people think. The most important observation I made in my research was that the majority of people who admitted to cheating were those who also succeeded in the classroom. I sent out a survey to the freshman class asking several questions with the goal of discovering both what kind of student they are and if they are cheaters. The respondents’ identities were kept anonymous for the survey, so the idea of self-preservation affecting the responses is mute, making the results more in line with the truth. The first question I asked was, “Have you cheated in the past school year?” 75% of the respondents answered yes. What you may want to believe is that that 25% who said no must be the top students and the 75% must be the bottom feeders, but the results from my fourth question: “What is your GPA?” say otherwise. Of those who responded saying they cheated, not a single student had a GPA below a 2.66, and 25% even had a GPA above 3.66. This shows that the correlation between cheating and high achieving students is very real, and is even more common amongst high achieving students than “lower tier” students. And these acts of academic dishonesty are not fluke occurrences either. The majority of these same students also responded saying that they did not feel remorse for their actions and would be willing to cheat again. And cheat again they did. These top student’s success in the classroom likely led to them having successful careers and perhaps becoming CEOs in the factory farming industry. There cheating in school taught them that cheating is acceptable in real life. Therefore, when they find themselves in the position to cheat professionally they have no problem with it.
Cheating is prevalent in all aspects of life, for nearly everyone. It begins early when people first go to school and develop their work habits. Minor acts of cheating develop into a habit that often results in success for these individuals. They have taken the easy way out of hard work, yet have achieved the same success as the hard workers. So why stop there? They don’t, and those who cheat in school continue to take the easy way out throughout their career. These people, like the CEOs, associate success with cheating and do so throughout their professional careers, creating the world we know today, one which revolves around cheating.
Friedrich, Bruce. “Meet Your Meat.” Youtube, narrated by Alec Baldwin, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, 1 May 2002, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4RX88IGJ35g.