Sunday, March 4, 2012


The other day I followed a link to a brief article about cheating at Syracuse Law.  They apparently have a suspected cheating epidemic so bad that students are now going to be limited to taking one bathroom break per exam.

I'm sorry, but if the problem is that large and that wide spread, limiting bathroom breaks is not the way to fix it.  

I'm a law student.  I just finished my second year.  And I know attorneys have a public reputation for dishonesty.  But what I've seen so far at my law school is a respect for ethics.  Maybe it has to do with the way students are selected for the school, maybe it has to do with the ethics courses we take, or maybe it has to do with the culture embraced by students and professors.  But if Syracuse has a cheating problem so bad they need to limit caffiene soaked, nervous law students to one restroom break per multi hour exam?  Then they have a serious problem in their student culture.

I'm sure my law school isn't perfect, but there is only one case i can think of where there was even suspected cheating on an exam-- and that was mainly due to the computer room and the bluebook room being told different rules.  And now, they stick all the computers and bluebooks together so that can never happen again. We have an honor code, and we have professors who like and respect us-- and who we like and respect, or at least one of the two :-)  I can't imagine cheating on a test-- I can't imagine how guilty you'd have to feel.  Or, if you didn't feel guilty, what a jerk you should be.

I get that our grades matter-- a lot-- for getting jobs.  I get that all of law is intensly competative. But what I don't get is why, even for the people who aren't inherently ethical, you would risk getting kicked out of law school and not passing the bar, just to get an A.

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