Don’t ask me to help you cheat on exams.

by James

in Teaching

So this past Sunday I got the following email:

Subject: URGENT ORGANIC CHEM HELP NEEDED
Date: Sun, 26 Jun 2011 16:13:40 +0000
From:  [redacted@redacted.edu]
To: <james@writechem.com>

hi James,

I needed help to solve these questions which I’ve attached. It’s 56 multiple choice and deals with biochemical organic chemistry like carbohydrate chemistry, lipid chemistry etc. I need help on an urgent basis as my exam is tmrw night. My friends an I are willing to pay a very decent price for the correct answers and explainations. I have solved most of the questions and I need to verify if it’s correct. Will you be able to help me?

Thanks, [redacted]

It was a photocopied exam. The time sensitivity, suggestions of reward, and general caginess made it the kind of thing I won’t touch with a seventy nine foot pole. To confirm my suspicions, they helpfully left the date on it [June 2011] and the course number, which clearly stated that it was a supplemental [make-up] exam. Dumb.

So I sent the exam to the course coodinator, who confirmed that it was indeed a photocopy of a stolen supplemental exam.

Subject: RE: URGENT ORGANIC CHEM HELP NEEDED
Date: Date: Sun, 26 Jun 2011 15:02:17 -0400
From:  <james@writechem.com>
To: [redacted@redacted.edu]

Awesome! Wire me $250,000 and the rights to your soul and those of your unborn children

Subject: RE: URGENT ORGANIC CHEM HELP NEEDED
Date: Sun, 26 Jun 2011 20:29:42 +0000
From:  redacted@redacted.edu
To: <james@writechem.com>

wtf is wrong with yu, i genuinely needed help.

It is hard for me to express in words how much contempt I have for people who do this. This person’s behavior is an affront to every single person in their course who worked honestly and followed the rules. Not only that, had they gotten away with it, it would have been an affront to every applicant to a graduate or professional school whose transcript is likewise a reflection of honest effort and integrity. People like this poison the common well of good will and trust that everyone else drinks from.  Those who seek to profit through cheating on exams like this deserve to be kicked out of their program, let alone (God forbid) be allowed anywhere near a medical school.

I don’t claim to be a paragon of moral virtue in all respects, but it wasn’t a hard decision to forward the names of the people involved to the course coordinator. I’ve been informed that the Dean of Science is taking interest in the matter, and I hope they’re dealt with harshly.

Honest, hardworking students should prosper. Cheaters should not.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Stewie Griffin

Awesome! Well done sir!

Reply

Chemjobber

You absolutely did the right thing.

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mevans

Wow…maybe that’s a sign you’ve made it to “famous” status as a blogger? In all seriousness, who does this kid think he is?

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James

not fame so much that I rank well in Google for “organic chemistry help”. there are black-hat “tutors” and other folks out there who will do homework and take-home exam type jobs for students, and this person must have assumed I was one of them.

Reply

Med School Odyssey

I had a classmate in undergrad that made a sizable income doing this for introductory math classes. At one point, she was averaging $500 a week. That sort of shadiness is really reprehensible.

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james

Not only is that morally reprehensible, it’s stupid. That’s like picking up nickels in front of a steam roller. If you get caught doing something like that the potential negative impact on your long term career is immense.

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Med School Odyssey

Hang ’em high!

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Med School Odyssey

All the moral and ethical obligations aside, what kind of a moron would use a university email account when soliciting that sort of thing?

Unfortunately, these kinds of people are all over the place and there are plenty of shady bastards that will help them. I hate people like this.

Reply

Dr. Shay

boo, that’s low…people will get caught or tripped up on there own, they don’t need people “ratting”…just mind your own if you don’t want to accept/assist…simply delete the email instead of going to so much trouble to out someone….Sheesh that is the problem with the world everyone trying to look good by outing someone else, taking that person down only benefitted YOUR ego! Your not saving the world sir, your just causing animosity and negative recourse to an individual you know nothing of…pretty lame and to then gloat on ur page so you can get a few cheap “atta boys” from cyber space…lol lol lol…tisk tisk, when is the last time you made an actual difference by doing the “right thing” without it puffing your ego and for the sole purpose of giving you bragging rights??! Uh, yea thts what I thought….do big things while they are still small

Reply

james

Writing a blog post about it was a decision I could reasonably be criticized for. But reporting to the professor that an exam had been stolen and photocopied is not.

Reply

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