Voices of Experience

View letters from students from the 1998-1999 academic year:

letter # 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16


#1  The following letter was written by a student who was found guilty of an academic honor code violation during the 1998-99 school year.  The letter appears exactly as the student wrote it.  No corrections have been made.


Dear Freshman,

                During your first year at Elon, you will face tough decisions that could effect your life in and out of Elon College.  When I came to school I thought the hardest decisions that I would have to make would deal with alcohol, drugs, and the other things that people of our age are confronted with day to day.  The one decision that I never thought that I would have to deal with was the one dealing with cheating.  I did not really read the handbook about the guidelines of cheating and what could happen if I was to be accused of it.  I had no previous experience with Elon College Honor Code, but I was aware of it from seeing it on posters in my classrooms.  I never thought that I would be directly influenced by the honor code and what happens when it is violated. 

                In my case, I was charged with plagiarizing a research paper.  When I got the letter explaining these accusations that were brought against me, I had many scared feelings and thoughts going through my head.  I did not read the handbook, so I had no idea as to what could possibly happen to me.  My parents were very upset and I had nothing to say to them, buy “sorry”!  When I admitted to the violation I was very embarrassed and nervous because I was not aware of what was going to happen to my collegiate career.  After it all happened and I started to tell people about what had happened they were very shocked and baffled that I had done such a thing, because they could not believe that I would risk my entire college career and future just because I was lazy and ignorant.  This experience is probably one of the worst mistakes that I have ever made because I was toying with my future and education. 

                I believe that the honor code is a very important aspect of education because it puts the trust of students into the hands of teachers.  They expect honesty from the students because they believe that the students understands the code, and until they realize that a student has cheated, they have full confidence in their students decision-making.

                The only advice I have for the freshman class is that honesty and trust are very important aspects of life, and when they are violated it causes bad things to happen to good people.  Also, do not take a chance with your future and college education just because you try to take the easy way out.  If temptation to cheat is a factor, please remember the consequences as stated in the handbook and I am sure you will make the right decision. 



#2  The following letter was written by a student who was found guilty of an academic honor code violation during the 1998-99 school year.  The letter appears exactly as the student wrote it.  No corrections have been made.


June 1999

Incoming Freshman

Elon College

Elon College, NC 27244


Dear Freshman,

Have you ever been scared?  Have you ever questioned who you really are?  Have you ever made a decision in your life, that negatively impacted the relationship with your family and friends?  It is questions like these, which I had asked myself after making an incorrect decision to cheat within one of my college courses.  This decision alone has changed my personal views about such topics as integrity, honesty, and codes of honor, which the College of Elon so greatly values and promulgates. 

To begin with, I am currently a senior enrolled in specialized program offered through the college.  I have struggled the last two years of my college experience, learning, organizing and trying to decipher the curriculum, which the students in my major must adhere too.  It was these struggles, coupled with performance frustration, which triggered the negative situation, which I had placed myself into.  Elon College is to be credited with recruiting a very rich pool of students within my major whose knowledge and talents surpass my own.  Feeling intimidated from my lack of matching the skills of my peers, I chose the easy road by taking someone’s assignment, and calling it my own.  This action was uncovered by my teacher, who approached me and asked if the work was mine.  Realizing the limitations of my own skill base, and most importantly my own code of ethics, I quickly admitted to my actions, and told my teacher what I had done.  With reassurance from his attitude of accepting my honesty, he understood the situation, but consequently had to report my conduct to the board, which reviews Academic Honor Codes.  Feeling ashamed and remorseful, because of my decision I had made, I felt positive in the fact that I was honorable in admitting my wrong doing.  Unfortunately, sometimes admitting that you are dishonest doesn’t make it acceptable, but most significantly effects the relationship and opinion of both family and friends. 

Family, as you all well know, are groups of people who want you to succeed, but most importantly want to see you mature as an individual, especially within your college experience.  Sitting down with my family and talking about the situation, made me feel very disappointed in the way they viewed me as a son and a brother.  Ever since high school I could hear in the back of my mind, “Always be a leader.  Never be a follower.”  “Be yourself and don’t give into peer pressure, because you know what is deemed proper behavior.”  All of those echoes made me realize, that my choices went against everything that I was raised to follow, and practice.  Understanding that I have a difficult time with formulating my feelings, and since this was such a family issue, my family and I decided to take the time together, and help me piece together this important letter to all of you.

In the beginning of this assignment I was very feasibility and purpose of this assignment, but through its completion I was able to see its true value.  Value is a sense where it taught me that is it important to follow rules and codes of ethics, which organizations like Elon College, promotes and practices.  Through this disciplinary action, it has made me well aware that the college experience is not just about obtaining perfect grades, but rather developing important inner qualities such as honesty, honor, and respect for rules and regulations.

In conclusion, I would like for all of you to look at my situation and learn through my mistakes.  It is punishment enough for me to realize that I did something that does not reflect my true person, and the person my family so deeply cares for and loves.  My advice to all of you, is realize who you are and what you were raised to become.  Don’t ever submit to peer pressure, even though the rewards of a better grade might seem so important.  The academic environment stresses perfection, and the attainment of superior grades, but it is up to all of you to see beyond that benchmark.  Realize that the most important attribute in life is your person, and the way people perceive you, and trust you.  Remember as you pass through many classes here at Elon, your parents and the school staff, want to see you succeed academically, but most importantly want to see you develop into an honest, hard working adult.



                                                                                                                Concerned Student



#3  The following letter was written by a student who was found guilty of an academic honor code violation during the 1998-99 school year.  The letter appears exactly as the student wrote it.  No corrections have been made.



Dear Freshmen,

                As you start your life here at Elon you will encounter many learning experiences.  Some will lead you in positive learning directions, others though teaching a lesson may head you in not such a positive way.  I write this to tell you of a experience that I myself encountered.  Some would look at my mistake as negative but I hope to make it positive my impacting on you in such a way that you will not make the same mistake.

                Like the majority of students I do my fair share of partying and relaxing.  Both of these things are fine to do if done in moderation.  To much of anything to much of anything in this world causes problems.

                Due to my lack of balance I found myself falling behind in my classes.   My grades were ok, but I knew that they could be better.  Well before I knew it finals came around and to no surprise I was not in the greatest shape.  I buckled down and began to really work.  I was able to pull good grades in most of my classes but when it came to a certain class I chose to take what I thought was the easy way out, I cheated.  I took a paper from a friend of mine and copied a portion of it.  Well I would not be writing this unless I was caught.

                What I am trying to say is that I feel behind, in doing so I looked for the easy way out.  The easy way out turned out to be one of the most embarrassing things that has ever happened to me.

                My advice to you is this;

1.        Don’t ever think you won’t get caught, you will.

2.        Stay on track with work, trying to get back on is a lot harder then trying to stay on.

3.        Don’t let a situation get out of hand that cheating becomes an option, if it does think about the consequences before you do it.

4.        If you really feel helpless talk to your teacher or advisor.

I end with these words of wisdom: You will never know how it feels to know you are a cheater.  You never want to know how it feels when you see the teacher again on campus.  Avoid trouble by staying away from it.

Best of luck here at Elon!!!!!



#4  The following letter was written by a student who was found guilty of an academic honor code violation during the 1998-99 school year.  The letter appears exactly as the student wrote it.  No corrections have been made.



To All Incoming Freshman,

                For those of you who are now entering into a new stage of your life, there is one thing you have to remember: there are no shortcuts.  College is tough, but with time and effort, your education here can become worthwhile.  One of these shortcuts I am referring to is violating the Honor Code: plagarism.  This letter is to help you understand the importance of this code and how you can stray away from the temptations.

                I had a paper due and put it off until the last second.  I turned in a rough draft, very rough, and hoped to get help.  One week later, the paper was due and I had nothing.  The internet seemed the best was out.  Almost instantly, I found something useful, copied it off, and put my name on it.  Of course, I was caught and had to accept an F in the course.  The point is, most professors give plenty of time to do research and writing.  I waited until it was to late.  Take the time the professors give to go to the library, use the writing center for drafting, and make sure your final is done before it is too late. 

                In the real world, you must work no matter what job you have.  Allowing someone else to do it and slapping your name on the work is wrong.  When I was called into the Academic Office, I knew exactly what was happening.  I suddenly felt angry at myself for not taking the time and finding another way out.  I admitted it immediately because it is true “Honesty is the best policy.”  If I would have denied it, receive a F for the course would have just been the beginning of it.  Admitting it allowed me to deal with it.  I immediately signed up for another course.  I was lucky to get it and now I can graduate on time.  I was lucky, you may not be.

                The Honor Code is there to prepare you for the real world.  Not just plagarism, but cheating on exams can also be considered.  The consequences in the real world are much harsher.  Elon’s Code prepares us.  Take it seriously and remember, teachers are willing to help.  Don’t give in and use someone else’s work as your own.



#5  The following letter was written by a student who was found guilty of an academic honor code violation during the 1998-99 school year.  The letter appears exactly as the student wrote it.  No corrections have been made.



Dear Freshman,

As a student at Elon College, I can truly say that college has been the best four years of my life.  It is finally a time for you to become your own person.  You are aloud the freedom to make your own decisions and to grow as an individual.  Unfortunately, with this new found freedom comes a lot of responsibility and pressure, that can be hard to deal with at times.  Every decision you make has consequences, some wonderful and others not so wonderful.  Unfortunately, along the way you are bound to make mistakes, as I did.

                I am writing you this letter in an attempt to help you not make the same mistake I did.  I made an unexcusable mistake of breaking the Elon College Honor Code.  The Honor Code is a precious entity in any school system.  It is there to protect, not only the rights of your and others work, but also your rights as a student.  I selfishly took these rights away from another student, by using her work.

Nothing I can say or do can change my wrong doing, but I can now be honest and tell you of the consequences of my actions.  I will tell you of my feelings, my fears, my worries and my thoughts before and after the incident.

Upon being confronted by my professor, the only thought in my mind was “how stupid and selfish I am?”   I am a bright knowledgeable college student who used to have a 3.3 GPA.  I was and am perfectly capable of doing any college assignment assigned, just as you are or you would be in college.  When I was finally confronted by my professor, the only option was to admit to my violation.  I had done a horrible thing that had broken his trust and my own morals.  There is no valid excuse for what I did and I had to face my wrong doing.

I am not going to say that it was an easy task, because it wasn’t.  I was so scared and fearful of the consequences of my actions.  I was worried I would be kicked out of school, and it was all my own doing.  After going though the deliberation I learned of the true consequences of my actions.  I was placed on academic probation for a year, which is permanently be on my college record.  I was also assigned an academic project and received an F in the course, which I had an A- in at mid-term.

As I think about it now I ask myself “was all of this worth just sitting down and spending two hours to complete the assignment myself?”  it would have only been two hours out of my interior life, but instead I tried to take the easy way out, which is never the way to go.  If you don’t work for something you will never learn or gain anything.  If you abuse a privilege you will almost always get caught, and you never realize how precious that privilege is until it is taken away.  I have lost my privileges for a year, I can not make any more mistakes.

My advice to you as an incoming freshman is to always be honest with yourself.  You will make mistakes along the way and that is ok, but only if you learn from them.  Always remember before you make a decision, think about its consequence and evaluate the worth of your decision.

I hope you are able to learn from my mistake, so that you will not have to experience what I went though.  Enjoy college, enjoy your new freedom, but in these four years ahead of you remember to always be honest and true to yourself.



#6  The following letter was written by a student who was found guilty of an academic honor code violation during the 1998-99 school year.  The letter appears exactly as the student wrote it.  No corrections have been made.


Dear Student,

Well, what can I say, “I messed up.”  You never think that it could happen to you.  Well I took a certain class that remains anynomous and struggled with it throughout the semester.  As the semester grew to a close so did my outlook on the class.  I am the type of person that procrastinates a little bit, well, I keep A LOT of things til the end.  But I get them complete, whatever way possible, and that is where my fault lies.  I had been struggling through some times in my life where I had a lot of personal trauma, in and out of the class room.  So I had a lot of thoughts on my mind and school work was one of them, but it wasn’t my first priority.  Anyways, I do not let things get me down and I see good out of any bad situation, but this situation was a little bit more for me to bit off.  It was coming down to the last days of class and I had a good 20-25 page paper that was about to kick my butt.  I had struggled with it throughout the semester but it was coming down to crunch time.  Part of my paper got erased due to some malfunctions of one of the computers.  So I needed to rewrite part of my paper since 4 pages got erased.  Cramming down the last night, I struggled to finish my paper.  To cut the chase, I went to a friends house to ask about his paper.  He was not around so I didn’t think it would hurt to make some notes and take some ideas that my friend had elaborated on in his paper.  I through some notes down elaborated on the ideas myself and went on my way.  Well, if you haven’t figured it out, this is in violation of the Elon College Honor Code.  I went on my way and continued through my exams, until I was notified that I needed to refer to a higher authority about the authencity of my paper.  I was then called soon after the notice and was told to come in and consult one of the Deans of the Honor Code.  After receiving notice, I immediately questioned my wrong doing of the 20 page paper.  I wasn’t exactly sure what I had taken and used for my own.  I knew that it was some small detail and a paragraph.

                The following week I was to consult with the Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs.  She sat me down and said to me straight forwardly if I was guilty or not guilty as charged.  I pled guilty because I obviously used his material.  Whether if I used his whole paper or a few quotes, it fell upon to respond as guilty.  She said that there was three basic sanctions that come along with your charge.  One, cademic censure, which is I believe, probation and I am not able to take the class for a better grade.  Two, A recommended “F” for the class, which is given by the teacher.  And three, an assignment to be completed for the Assistant Dean.  Doesn’t seem like much, but when you have one more year left and you have a packed schedule for your semesters ahead, you will see how big it is to bit.  I knew that I had messed up and I have to take the fall for my error, that’s life.  You live and you learn, wherever you go.  You can’t go through life taken the high road, you have to fall sometimes.  I am not a person that messes up and then does it again.  I can learn after the first mistake. 

                All my friends got word real quickly of what had happened because the guy whose paper I used was not the happiest of campers.  People thought I was getting kicked out and leaving.  It was rough.  You have to roll with the punches and you can’t let it get you down.  I am pretty optimistic and I keep my head up and continue.  I am still nervous though because I got to get through this next school year without messing up, that includes no plagerizing, no cheating, and no lending of my material, you can get charged for aiding a student.  As much as you want to be friendly, sharing is not allowed.

                The Honor Code is set up to help you not hurt you, which may be hard to grasp.  Why would you want to aid someone else in something you spent gruiling hours on?  Why would you want to help them when they sit in class and sleep, and you study your butt off?

                Take it from me, do your own work and keep it to yourself.  You are here for your education, not to sluff education on to someone else.  One note, do your work early, then you won’t put yourself in a predictament to make a bad decision like myself.  Good luck in the school year and be optimistic you have a lot ahead of you.


                                                                                                                                Upcoming senior


#7  The following letter was written by a student who was found guilty of an academic honor code violation during the 1998-99 school year.  The letter appears exactly as the student wrote it.  No corrections have been made.



Dear Students,

                As an outgoing member of the class of 1999, I have been faced with one of the most challenging years possible.  My classes are picking my brain to help determine if I have built a suitable cache of knowledge about my field.  I am at a crossroad with every person I have met in my career here, and am questioning the future of our relationships.  However, none of these speed bumps has compared to the last few months after which I was cited for an Honor Code violation.  My crime was plagiarism and what may seem as a minor action has severe consequences.

                The feelings I have been mulling over for the past few months are of complete humiliation, and embarrassment.  I have been branded a cheater, and will have a record to prove it.  The action is simple, taking another’s work and calling it your own.  Simple maybe, but just as wrong as sharing answers on a test, for it is calling another’s work your own.

                In my case I was so surprised to be caught, as most people are.  The assignment was not difficult, maybe time consuming, but it did not tax me mentally.  All it takes is a momentary lapse of judgement, and your fate is sealed.  This is a crime that is probably most overlooked in our academic circles, because we all want to believe that each student is honest enough to present their own work.  However this only works in a perfect world.

                Once accused I had no choice but to admit to my guilt, and here in began the sinking feelings of the ramifications of my actions.  Will I graduate?  Will my classmates find out?  What will I tell my parents?  Why the hell did I do this?  Endless thought, running through my mind keeping me tied in knots for weeks.  The fact that u had admitted so readily may have helped but it did not lesson the outcome.  The only end will be a harsh lesson learned and a marred student record. 

                The Honor Code has bee a part of my academic career since I was I high school.  It is a commanding part of your academic social life, and has a great usefulness in the college community.  Mt actions have sent me searching inside for a reason or explanation, which is helping me build as a person, and a student.  The Honor Code should not be overlooked by anyone, it is as much a part of your life here as tying your shoes everyday.

                The end is far from near on this chapter of my life, this event may have taken a mere few minutes to create, but it will take years to justify to myself.  My advice to you is to live your life here at Elon College through the Honor Code.  Make it part of everything that you do, it will only strengthen your relationship with your school, as well as your peers and professors.  Learn through my mistakes, it is my hope that this letter can be used for many years to come to give new students a crash course on how not to handle academic assignments her a Elon College.

                Thank you for your time and good luck.



#8 The following letter was written by a student who was found guilty of an academic honor code violation during the 1998-99 school year.  The letter appears exactly as the student wrote it.  No corrections have been made.



The honor code is something that I have always known about.  However, I never really thought much about it until I made my mistake.  I went to take my final exam, which was at three in the afternoon, so I had been up most of the morning trying to do all my last minute cramming.  I got to my examination about ten minuets before the exam was about to begin.  I was sitting down when a tall man walked into the classroom.  The man informed the class that our professor could not be here and he would be her replacement to administer the test.  He told the class that after passing out the papers he would go back to his office that was down the hallway.  He said he would return to check in on us during the test every now and then.  Once the test time was up he would return to collect the papers.  This is where one mistake would change my life.  I never walked into the classroom thinking that I was going to cheat or looking for a way to do it.  I just found myself in a position where I did a foolish thing.

                Once the professor left the room, a young boy asked out loud a question about the test.  On impulse I turned around, when he looked up at me I gave him the answer to his question.  The second after I did it, I knew it was wrong but what could I do the damage was done.  I could not take back what I had said even if I wanted too.  After that, I finished my the test and turned it in.  During the rest of the exam, I did not look at my notes or receive information from another student.  I was involution of Elon’s honor code because I shred information with someone else; I was cheating.  It does not matter that I did not intentionally plan it or take the information for myself, I cheated. 

                When I found out that I was being charged with cheating I broke down and cried.  I thought I would be kicked out of school but worse I feared what my parents would think of me.  In the end, my parents were sorry about what I was going through, but did not think less of me.  In one second, I made a mistake that will be with me the rest of my life.  The only advice I would give to another student is to think before you act.  If you are not sure of the honor code then ask someone about it.  Take the time to look over the material about the honor code the school has provided for you.  Ignorance is not an excuse, so know that before you make a mistake you can not change.




#9 The following letter was written by a student who was found guilty of an academic honor code violation during the 1998-99 school year.  The letter appears exactly as the student wrote it.  No corrections have been made.



Dear Incoming Freshman,

During the spring semester of my freshman year I was faced with a problem concerning the honor code.  Before the situation I never had a problem with the honor code.  I knew that Elon had an honor code but I never knew the true value of it.

                During the semester I was charged with cheating on a test by giving out answers.  Subconsciously I knew that I was cheating but it just didn’t feel like it at the time.  I didn’t have a cheat sheet, it was not planned, I only gave out answers, but it was still cheating.  Giving or receiving answers is cheating.  A couple of days later I received a phone call asking me to meet with the Dean.  I had no idea why I was asked to meet with the Dean, but in the back of my mind I knew (I was praying it wasn’t that).  I went and met with the Dean, and she said that someone felt uncomfortable in the test atmosphere and turned in my name for cheating.  When she said that my heart just dropped, tears came to my eyes.  I felt like it was a dream, I’ve never gotten in trouble before.  This couldn’t be happening, but it did.  I felt ashamed and embarrassed.  I broke the honor code, which is something very important.  The hardest part was telling my family and friends about the situation.  I felt like I let them down.  I lost my integrity and respect, and it was hard to gain it back.

                The honor code is very important.  It puts your honor on the line, and that’s something that you never want to give up.  Just always be true to yourself, and respect yourself and others.  Don’t put yourself in a situation that could jeopardize your honor in any way.


                                                                                                                                                An Elon Student



#10 The following letter was written by a student who was found guilty of an academic honor code violation during the 1998-99 school year.  The letter appears exactly as the student wrote it.  No corrections have been made.



Dear Freshmen,

                Well our teacher assigned us a paper for our final exam.  My friend and I really did not know how to write the paper.  So we decided that we will help each other on the assignment.  So I got ahead of my friend in doing the paper.  Well he did not know how to do the paper so I just gave him my paper to read it.  I really did not think that it would be a violaton of the Elon college honor code.  So I let him us my paper.  It ended up be a violation of the honor code.  I really did not know what the honor code said all I now was that if you violate the honor code you are kicked out of school.  So when I got the letter that I need to speck to the dean for academic affairs I really did not know what it was about.  When  fund out that I violated the honor code I jest wanted to tell what happen and why I did what I did and if it ended up that I violated the honor code then I will tack my punishment.  Even thaw I violated the honor code I feel that it is a good idea that Elon has a honor code for the students.  It puts responsibility to the student if the tack the changes to violate the honor code, they now that they can be put on probation or kicked out of school.  The only thing that I have to say to the freshmen is that you should think before you decide to violate the honor code.  Our if you have any question on if you are violating the honor code you should go and ask you teacher if you are violating the honor code our not.


I am the student at Elon College that was charged with cheating on a paper with a friend of mind.  It violated the Elon Honor Code of Elon College, which made my friend and I have to go see the Assistant Dean.  When I went to see her I had no idea why she wanted to see me.  When I got there she asked me did I cheat off my friend paper, I told her no not knowing she had already talked to him.  He told her that he let me borrow his paper when he was done with it.  Our story did not match so the Assistant Dean set up a meeting with us together.  I called him after that to get him to lie for me because I was scared that I was going t get kicked out of school.  So when we met the second time together I came out and told the truth.  The situation made me scared, so I hope people learn from my experience.  It might seem like am easy way out at the time but it is not worth all the stress it put me through think I was going to be kicked out of school.  I fill that the Assistant Dean and my professor has lost respect for me.




#11 The following letter was written by a student who was found guilty of an academic honor code violation during the 1998-99 school year.  The letter appears exactly as the student wrote it.  No corrections have been made.



Fellow Freshmen:

                I have been asked to address you about a serious matter, which I was involved in at the end of the spring ’98.

                It was an unfortunate situation in which I was put on academic probation for cheating in the exam room.  I was charged with having my notes present at the time the exam was given and also was charged with communicating with a fellow student at that same time.  It was something that just happen and it eventually affected me as a student, in that I was placed on academic probation, received and “F” for the course and it also made my GPA drop somewhat.

                At the time I was not notified about the situation, but found out about it later.

My feelings, thoughts after learning about the charge cannot be expressed at this time because I don’t know what I’m thinking.  I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m not in a comfortable state now.

                An honor code at college helps the working staff at the college to teach students what is right and wrong and it also helps us as students to respect ourselves as people overall.  It basically helps you at an early time of life.  As an upper classman at the time I was wrong and acted stupidly, but we all learn from our mistakes and that’s what life is all about.  This is how we grow and learn as people and it helps in the long run.

                I hope I’ve deter you somewhat from any kind of wrong doing which may affect you as a student, especially when you are tempted, especially when it relates to the honor code.

                Please enjoy your stay here and have a good academic year.




#12 The following letter was written by a student who was found guilty of an academic honor code violation during the 1998-99 school year.  The letter appears exactly as the student wrote it.  No corrections have been made.


I was charged with plagiarism on my rough draft for the paper for one of my classes.  When I first met with the Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs and was told about my violation on my paper and sanctions which I would receive, I was really shocked and could not stop crying.  No matter how I regretted about it, I knew I made an irreparable mistake.  I felt that I lost all hope to graduate Elon College.  After I came back to my room, I started packing my stuffs.  I thought I would not be able to stay here because I thought my parents would not support me anymore.  I know that my parents do not have much money to spare for me.  At that night, I called my parents and told them everything, though I was so scare to tell them about it.  I told them how I felt about it and I was going to quit Elon.  To my surprise, they encouraged me to stay and to start my college life again from scratch, if I really regretted about it.

                I had never thought that this could happen to me.  I tried to remember my situation and feeling when I chose to plagiarize on my paper from the internet resources.  When I submitted the rough draft, I had a lot of personal problems and I could not control myself.  However, my judgement was ill-considered because I thought that I could re-write on my next final paper.  I should not choose a wrong way even if I was in trouble at the time.  I really need to talk to my professor.  I think so sorry for my professor.  I guess how my professor disappointed me when she figured out plagiarism on my paper.  I really understand that reporting my plagiarism Honor Code violation is her obligation as a professor.

                I was the one who had not be aware such a Honor Code existing and sanctions for violating.  However, even if I did not know about it, I knew plagiarism was wrong and would be a violation.

                I want to advice freshmen that you should not do anything you will regret later like me, you should be aware of the Honor Code as a member of Elon College.  If you have any questions about it, you should talk to your professor.  It is too late to regret after you violate the Honor Code.  I do not want anybody to have the terrible experience and regret like me.  I would never forget it in the rest of my life.




#13 The following letter was written by a student who was found guilty of an academic honor code violation during the 1998-99 school year.  The letter appears exactly as the student wrote it.  No corrections have been made.



Dear Incoming Freshmen,

                I am writing this letter to inform you about the honor system and what it entails.  The main goal of the honor system id for students to be honorable. 

                All of you are freshmen know, so try and imagine yourself ten years from now with a spouse and a child.  When you send your child to school, after instilling morals upon them, do you want to receive a letter from the school informing you they cheated.  Many of you are coming to Elon with the vision of one day becoming a teacher.  You will dedicate four years and more to this dream, hoping one day to have a class full of eager students hanging on your every word.  Those students will receive your very best, and all that you will ask in return is for their’s.  Does this include cheating?  Now take it from the students point of view, your point of view.  Upon entering a classroom, you find that the teacher and you do not see eye to eye.  Thinking to yourself you ask, “Does this teacher care about his job and the young minds he is forming?”  With the perception of the teacher, finding respect becomes a difficult task.  Without the proper amount of respect for your teacher, a lack of integrity and commitment will show in your work ethic and honorableness.  Cheating is not right, but how do you define cheating.  For example, a class takes a test home, but can students work together?  If not, then the tests are handed in with similar content should be scrutinized.  However, if this incident is overlooked, students will feel there is nothing wrong with what they actually did, cheat.  In another scenario you attend a class and you can tell right off the teacher loves their job, and you love coming to class every day; you never skip.  Working hard for that teacher is fun and anything but a hassle.   The teacher has earned your respect, therefore, the thought of cheating never crossed your mind.  Application of this mind set should touch every aspect of your daily lives.

                We can see that being honorable is not personified very well when we turn our focus to today’s society.  Take for instance the story of Bill Clinton and the fact that his credibility has diminished due to unmentionable actions.  Today’s front page highlights society’s scandals, but buries the honorable stories back on page six.  This leaves our kids exposed to the bad, and unable to recognize the good.  Therefore, seeing these unfavorable stories, the kids are quick to point out nothing happens to the “bad guy.”  I get the impression that the people today, kids and adults, do not always act honorably, doing so only when necessary.  However, being honorable is the right thing to do.  I believe most parents instill the ideal into their children, but it is never acted upon.  No matter what the media or other people say, being true to yourself is most important. 




#14 The following letter was written by a student who was found guilty of an academic honor code violation during the 1998-99 school year.  The letter appears exactly as the student wrote it.  No corrections have been made.



Dear Incoming Freshman,

                You know, you never think you are doing something bad until you get caught, and I guess that is why sometimes we do stupid things.  That is what happened to me last year.  You see I was reading a magazine article in the library and I guess I wasn’t finished or wanted to read it again so I took it.  I ripped it the article out of the magazine and did all the work I needed too.  Hours later I had already forgotten about it and when I left the library I set off the alarm.  I had no idea why I had set it off (because I had forgotten about the article), so I followed the librarians orders until she found it. 

                I felt pretty stupid at that moment because not only was everyone looking, but I noticed some of my friends laughing at me.  I couldn’t really say anything, but the next day I went to Academic Affairs office and told the entire story.  They were pretty understanding and told me all the rules that come around an honor code violation.  I have never done anything like this and I wasn’t even thinking when I did it.  I guess that is what college is all about though, learning about your mistakes and moving on with life.

                What I am trying to say is do not make the same mistake I did.  Look out for yourself and don’t ripe things out of anmy library books, magazines, or journals because its cheaper to pay for the article in copies.  Besides its tough to sit down and read something and there are pages ripped out of it.  At the time I did not think I was hurting anyone.  I think that I probably thought that  no one would ever notice, but over the next few days while my fate was pondered by Elon, I felt that everyone knew and they were all laughing. 

                I probably know what you are thinking.  I was uneducated about the honor system and I didn’t think I would get caught, and that’s why I did it.  But what you don’t realize is that I was working with the honor code the previous semester and I thought I knew it.  Now I know I didn’t so please for your sake read it and follow it Because if you don’t sooner or later you will be writing a letter just like this one. 

                I don’t condone my actions, and I cannot excuse them either.  I am writing this because I feel you as students have to realize that even a small infraction is breaking the trust and honor that Elon has preserved for generations.  Just think if everyone ripped articles out of magazines, what would we have to read.

                By cooperating with the officials at Elon and following their sanctions I have been giving another chance to stay here.  I know that my experience will help myself and others realize that stealing isn’t acceptable and that people can not just go on thinking that the Honor Code is something to be taking lightly.  It is real and it has byte, believe me I am living proof.




#15 The following letter was written by a student who was found guilty of an academic honor code violation during the 1998-99 school year.  The letter appears exactly as the student wrote it.  No corrections have been made.





My freshman year at Elon College was a time of stress, confusion and resentment.  As I entered college I was not prepared for what I was getting myself into, and I was terrified.  When I was in high school I was a straight A student, and forth in my class, so when I began classes at Elon I assumed that I should receive all “A’s” even a few “B’s”.  I was devastated when my first mid-term grades arrived in my, I HAD A “C”. At this time I felt as though my college career wouldn’t or even couldn’t continue.  I HAD GOTTEN A “C”.  This was something I had never seen before and a grade I never wanted to see again.  I figured that if I spent just a few more hours a day studying then I could bring up the “C”.  Therefore, everyday I spent a few more hours in the library studying to bring up the “C”.  Then the final grades came I still managed to have a “C”.  It felt like no matter what I did nothing was good enough nothing could bring my grade up so I faced this reality and thought that next semester would be better.  Over Christmas break I told myself that next semester would be better and that maybe I could get all “A’s”.  Unfortunately my classes were a little tougher than I originally presumed, the work a little harder, and there was a lot more of it.  As the work was pilled on I found myself pressured for time.  I didn’t know what to do I had several papers do and a lot of extra bust work due the next morning.  I began to complete all of my excess work first before I started the papers and I found myself with less and less time left to complete the papers.  After all of the work was completed I started doing a little research on the topic of my paper and came across an already written paper that was on my topic, so as an easy way out I used the paper and turned it in as my own.  I thought that I was sly and I could and would get away with it.  There was only one problem with my plan, the teacher had a copy of that paper sitting on their desk.  In other words I was caught.  The thoughts and feelings that were running through me when I left the dean’s office were indescribable.  I was sick to my stomach, my shoes were a little heavier because that is where my pride lay, and I was totally and utterly ashamed.  Something of this nature could haunt you for the rest of your college career.  I realized this and just could not handle it.  I did not sleep nor eat for two days, I was in horror of failing and not being able to repeat the course.  The professor has your fate in their hands; they can fail you or let you complete the course.  I wish from the bottom of my heart that I could explain to you the suspense you are in while waiting for an answer from your professor.  While all of this rummage through your head you also have to worry about telling your parents.  What do you say to them?  How do you say it?  I will tell you one thing this experience has taught me more than any one person or anything has ever taught me before.  I cannot empathize enough how important it is to do your work.  I will promise you one thing plagiarism is not worth the pain caused and the worry produced that you will receive.  Please, do your work and you will never end up in the situation that I found myself in.




#16 The following letter was written by a student who was found guilty of an academic honor code violation during the 1998-99 school year.  The letter appears exactly as the student wrote it.  No corrections have been made.



Dear Elon 101 Students,

                Welcome to Elon College! I am sure this has been quite an overwhelming time for you, but I hope this course helps make the transition into “college life” a little less stressful.  One of the topics I know you will discuss throughout the semester will be the Academic Honor Code.  This is a topic that I am sure most of you will shrug off and not give full attention to.  Let me be the first to tell you that this is a mistake.  As a junior here at Elon, I can speak from the experience of a student in the same boat as you.  As a freshman, I endured the same orientation events and speakers that I am sure you have encountered.  At that time I did not realize the effect these topics would have on me. 

                Some of you might be here because of your parents required you to go to college, or because you want the success that often comes from a college degree.  For whatever reason, college will change your life.  You will have the chance to grow and mature here and develop a sense of how you are.  It is this reason that the Honor Code exists.  Think of it more as a guard rail provided to keep you from drifting off the road.  You will face situations during your college years that will challenge you to do the right thing.  You will probably forget to study for a test or two, and you might miss class because you overslept after parting the night before.  The decisions you make might not always be the right ones, but you will learn from each one if you take responsibility for them. 

                The repercussions that students face when violating the Academic Honor Code were established to teach us the importance of being honest and true to ourselves and others.  Every action has a reaction – whether it be one discipline or praise.  Obviously violating this code does not warrant praise.  Nor does it make you any better of a person.  Part of maturing is facing mistakes that you make and being held accountable for poor decisions.  Cheating on tests or lying to professors is not going to help develop you into a worthy adult.  Sure, you might be happy about the 97% you got on that anatomy test, but did you deserve it?  You might not have had to sign a blue book with the Honor Code stated on the cover, and maybe your professor did not notice the answers on your hand, but what will you tell a future patient when they complain about a pulled hamstring and you examine her back?

                I am sure you have all heard the words integrity, honesty, and commitment.  Although these character traits might mean more to some of you than others, I hope you all posses them to some degree.  In order to be successful in life, these are traits you need to rely upon.  And I do not mean success in terms of the best grades, the most money, or the highest career position.  I mean success in terms of being a true friend, being happy with yourself, being someone that others can turn to and depend on, and someone who will do the right thing.  Become committed to bettering yourself throughout these next four years and developing yourself into a well-rounded individual.

                Finally, I would like to leave you with some advice I was given that has stuck with me these last three years.  Remember that in order to be persuasive, you must be believable; to be believable, you must be credible; to be credible you must be truthful.  Hold yourselves accountable for your own decisions and don’t run away from your mistakes, even the kid in you thinks that is the best answer.  People will have more respect for you if you fail a test and admit you forgot to study than if you cheat in order to pass.  Try to keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world.  And lastly, what is right is not always popular; what is popular is not always right.

                Unfortunately, these next few years fly by, so make the most of them.  Time might seem extremely overwhelming now and again, but doing the honest thing will make them seem a little easier.

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