The students today…

Mar 102004
Authors: Jesse McLain

Cheating is up, sex is down. College students’ ethics, in many

areas of life, have changed over the years.

Ethically and morally speaking college students today are more

likely to use the easily-accessible Internet for their term paper

while becoming less likely to be passive in a society more prone to

sexual diseases, according to Ernie Chavez, head of CSU psychology


“Many more people are choosing to be celibate, but there are

probably more people cheating and shoplifting, so it depends how

you define morality,” Chavez said. “The temptation is greater to

cheat because we didn’t have access to a resource like the


With his own students Chavez initially trusts their intentions

until he is given reason to doubt them. However, according to a

1999 study by the Center for Academic Integrity 69 percent of

professors discover one or more cases of plagiarism a year.

Some students do make a concerted effort to earn an honest

education. Ethan Norris, graduate student in bio-chemistry, has

worked hard to go through CSU without cheating, false excuses and

Internet-bought term papers when others have left their morals


“They’re just trying to get through for right now and not

thinking of the long-term,” Norris said. “I’ve always felt like I

needed to do it for myself.”

Norris has become skeptical of life after graduation because of

students that will be entering the world with him.

“There comes a time when they’ll all be stuck,” Norris said.

“All this slowly leads to a decline in productivity and

intelligence in the workplace.”

Although cheating may be on the rise, professors are quickly

developing ways to combat students plagiarizing. Web sites like can scan a suspicious paper to see if a student could

have possibly purchased it from the Internet. Chavez knows at the

beginning of a semester he is likely to have a student try to bend

the system.

“I trust that somebody will try to manipulate the system,”

Chavez said. “Last semester was a really bad time for grandmothers

— I must have had five or six of them go down, now did they all

really die, I don’t know, I didn’t ask for death certificates or


However, Chavez still believes his students are honest with few

exceptions. Bob Chaffee, captain of CSU Police Department agrees

with Chavez.

“I’m in very high hopes that it’s not a moral decline and that

it is something that students will grow through,” Chaffee said. “I

am very hopeful that in the process that they don’t hurt anyone

while they are growing up.”

Chaffee who has been with CSUPD since 1977, said he has seen

more students lately use crude language with less thought, that

drugs and crime have always been an issue and that risqu�

fashion has alternated back and forth from extreme to more


“I get fearful for people’s safety, in general it seems like

there is less respect for individuals today,” Chaffee said.

“Personally it worries me because anytime we weaken the things that

give us character and our accountability it worries me.”

Even though students may be more likely to cheat, they may be

using more caution in other areas of their lives, the rise of STDs

has led some students to think more cautiously about sexual


“Sexual behavior is much more dangerous than my generation

thought it was,” Chavez said. “Students today are more conservative

in the sexual area, my generation was trying to sleep with everyone

and anyone they could, anytime they could.”

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