I would like to thank Yannick Wood for contributing to the cheating paranoia of the faculty at the University. His viewpoint outlined how often he cheated in his language courses (Outlaws in the MLB, 01/12/09). He then went on to express his own conspiracy theory about how all of his fellow foreign language students are cheating as well.

I just want to say that this is totally untrue.

Two of my roommates have been accused of cheating, even though they’d done nothing wrong (they were both exonerated). I’m not sure what would compel one student to purge his conscience by not only claiming that cheating in undergraduate language courses was understood, but also that it was expected.

I took Spanish 232 not because I needed it to graduate, but actually because I was looking forward to learning more about the language. I understand that many students at this University take their language courses just to fulfill the language requirement, but I would also suggest that they take a language that interests them. Wood appears to have taken French for his language requirement and, according to him, cheated on many of the tests in order to receive a higher grade.

In light of this, I would also like to thank Wood for throwing into doubt the integrity of the grade that I received in my language courses. I have worked hard for every grade that I have received at this University. I expect my fellow students to do the same. But I can also understand that some students probably use some “extra” means to help secure their grades. I cannot condemn anyone for using whatever “tools” they have, but I cannot sympathize with one student confessing his wrongdoings to the entire University and casting a shadow upon the accomplishments of every other language student.

Unfortunately, Wood went even further than just confessing. He actually made the claim that his actions were perfectly legit because everyone else does it. But this ancient defense mechanism of saying, “Well, everybody does it,” is not a valid excuse for the actions of one individual.

Wood also argued that it wasn’t his fault because the teachers made him do it. He blamed the professors’ choice of material, claiming that it was outdated. I will concede that perhaps, in his case, some of the material had been used before. But even if this material had been slightly outdated, this reason in itself does not excuse his actions. Our professors deserve respect. Cheating in class and advertising this fact is blatantly disrespectful to teachers and to the student body.

While some material could benefit from an update, other language courses have been revamped. My Spanish 232 class had new books that my professor had written. She was connected with the text and enthusiastic about teaching students about Spanish culture. Wood, in his rude viewpoint, suggested that his professors haven’t made the material interesting enough for him to put in the full effort. Perhaps he just didn’t take the right course for him. All the same, cheating was not the way to handle a dull class.

Wood confused his own situation by relating it to the rest of the student body at large. I sincerely hope that no professor will read his words and believe that a majority of their students haven’t chosen to put in the work required to receive a good grade. Hopefully, no more of my roommates will be accused of cheating because one student thought he could assuage his own guilt by blaming not only all language students, but the professors as well.

Elise Baun is an LSA senior.

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