Our Culture of Academic Integrity: A Mutual Commitment
Justice is the first virtue of social institutions, truth the first virtue of systems of thought. In the same way, integrity is the first virtue of an intellectual and creative community in its typical and ongoing activities of exchanging ideas, writings, creations, and evaluating all these things in multiple contexts. In keeping with the emphasis on virtue and learning in the Jesuit tradition, and in order to promote the highest goals of the educational process, and especially the full intellectual development of every member of our community, we, the students and faculty of Fordham College at Lincoln Center, jointly commit ourselves to the following principles and ideals.
- Faculty members commit themselves to a culture of integrity, which includes promoting a spirit of trust, mutual respect, and reciprocity in pursuing our common purposes.
- The value of the Fordham degree depends first and foremost on the intrinsic value of the knowledge, skills, and character that students gain from their studies, including the virtues of honesty and justice, and secondly on the assurance it gives of students' abilities in writing, research skills, and creative initiative. Both these purposes are destroyed by academic dishonesty, plagiarism, and cheating of any form on assignments, which therefore harm every member of our learning community. Cheating short-circuits the pursuit of knowledge and the development of research, writing, and critical thinking skills, which are essential components of a complete college education.
- The principles of truth and honesty are recognized as fundamental to a community of teachers and scholars, both for the trust necessary for the professor-student relationship to flourish, and for the students to gain the most from this relationship. By undermining trust and rejecting intellectual and creative excellence as ends in themselves, academic dishonesty undermines the deepest foundations of our work together. Moreover, cheating contributes to an ethos of intellectual and moral passivity in which we become dull agents who merely conform to ideas and thoughts already constituted for us, rather than active searchers for new insight engaged in advancing human understanding and changing the world for the better.
- Given the importance of grades as assessments of the relative merit of performance in our courses, every student has the right to assurance that there is no widespread cheating on exams or assignments. Academic dishonesty is unfair to every student in our community; justice to each student depends not only on the serious enforcement of sanctions to deter cheating and plagiarism, but also on a more proactive effort to raise awareness of these problems and to discuss them openly, both in student communication with their peers and in student-faculty dialogue. It also depends on fostering a campus culture in which students see their relationships as a cooperative pursuit of excellence, rather than a competitive battle for grades.
- Accordingly, the student body will condemn and refrain from academic dishonesty of all kinds, and faculty pledge to uphold standards of intellectual honesty in their own work, to give assignments that are both fair and challenging, and to invigorate student research as a key part of the liberal arts education.
In conclusion, we hope to foster at Fordham University a culture of integrity in which every member of our community identifies with the values that make academic and creative excellence possible. Our common goal is a culture built on reciprocal trust, in which every member of our community can rely on every other to uphold high standards of honesty. In particular, no student should feel pressured to cheat by the fear or concern that others are gaining unfair advantages through academic dishonesty. Students should be assured that their peers value the same standards and care about the integrity of the educational process. This can only happen in a community in which all members help each other strive for excellence and the attainment of their full potential.
Adopted by the Faculty, December 2, 2004