Statement Makes Values a Priority: All U.S. College Presidents to Get Copy

Article excerpt

A coalition of 200 colleges and universities will release later this month a policy statement that calls on the nation's institutions of higher learning to make values a higher priority on campus.

The statement, "The Fundamental Values of Academic Integrity," will be distributed to every college and university president in the nation. It was developed from meetings with students, faculty and administrators around the country and drafted by members of the Center for Academic Integrity, a consortium of schools formed in 1992 and based at Duke University.

"Our research and the center's recommendations make it clear that many colleges and universities have not done enough to confront the problem of cheating," wrote Donald L. McCabe, a professor at Rutgers University, in an editorial in this week's Chronicle of Higher Education. The failure to give cheating appropriate consideration "threatens the fundamental nature of academe," he wrote.

Mr. McCabe, a professor of organization management who has done research on cheating, said many schools have put it on the back burner because of limited resources, which are directed toward other issues such as sexual harassment, violence and drug and alcohol abuse prevention.

"As long as there wasn't a cheating scandal on campus, they didn't have to devote attention to this," he said. "It's my belief . . . there are a lot of students who would like to see their institutions take hold of this issue."

Stanley K. Ridgley, executive director of the Collegiate Network at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute in Wilmington, Del., said the center's policy statement marks a swing of the pendulum toward traditional values on college campuses. While he views it as a "baby step," he calls the group's efforts encouraging.

"I think we're still suffering some of the vestiges of a hangover of the excesses of the '60s, the educational experimentation, the phony search for relevance in the curriculum, the lowering of admission standards, the anything-goes mentality that universities have seemed to have bought into," he said. "I see this as the beginning of a mainstream turn back to sanity in higher education. …