Most Detroit Mercy students asked admit to cheating

With classes mostly online, cheating has become easier, students say. / VN photo by Devonne Mccullough


Academic fraud has been and always will be a large issue for universities, especially when 82% of undergraduates claim to have cheated before.

The “82% problem,” according to a 2009 survey of 14,000 undergraduate students, represents the percentage of students who claim to have cheated sometime before on academics.

According to Detroit Mercy policies, “academic dishonesty” includes cheating, helping others cheat, plagiarism, deception, misrepresentation and submitting the same work to multiple classes, among other offenses.

But is 82% the right number?

And is cheating the result of pressure to get good grades and earn a degree, making the result more important than actual learning?

“The ends do not justify the means,” warned associate professor Jason Roche, who also said he did not cheat when he was in college.

Unsurprisingly, in a world of technology and accessible internet, the number may have gone up.  The Varsity News talked to 20 students, who would only share their experiences if their names were not used.

Seventeen admitted to academic fraud, and all 20 said they knew someone who had cheated.

That would be 85%, though the sample size is not statistically significant.

It would amount to an increase. With how technology has advanced within the last 11 years, it only makes sense.

“I would hope our university would have a higher standard,” said Roche, who also said it is tough to know if 82 percent is an accurate number.

Although this sample size is small, it still shows how cheating is everywhere, even at a small university like the Detroit Mercy.

Students said it is easy to do.

“I think people are more willing to cheat online, especially when Respondus (a lock-down browser) isn’t required,” said sophomore Kali West. 

There are a lot of tools that faculty have available to stop academic fraud, but they aren’t perfect.

One student said,

“I just used my phone to look up the answers instead,” said one student, noting information is easily accessible.

With online tests and quizzes becoming the norm during the pandemic, the temptation to cheat may be at an all-time high for students.

It is still fairly simple to catch plagiarism.

There are programs that look for that stuff and sometimes they don’t even pass the eye test.

“I can easily catch the lazy ones,” said Roche.

Cheating exists everywhere, of course.

“People cheat,” said Wayne State University student Eric Manczyk. “People always try to get an advantage.”

University of Michigan student Alexander Scotta has a slightly different view.

“It’s hard to cheat here,” he said. “You’re always being watched. One kid was caught during an exam and was asked to leave, but online it is tough for professors to stop it.”

It’s certainly dangerous to cheat because students can be expelled if caught.

But students have been told how important a degree is that they may go through any means necessary to get that piece of paper.

Is it even rewarding to achieve through cheating?

Many people would say no, yet maybe the problem with cheating is not the students but the pressure to get a degree and be successful.