Emilly Santos, a student at Princeton University in New Jersey, is complaining about a new zero-tolerance policy for cheating at her school, which she says is unfair to “minorities” presumably because they cheat more than the majorities.
Princeton’s Undergraduate Honor Code,’ Santos wrote in an opinion piece for her school’s newspaper, which is “tasked with holding students accountable and honest in academic settings, mirrors the criminal justice system in its rules and effects.”
Brown and black people, Santos suggested in her op-ed, tend to cheat more than lighter-skinned people. As a result, they become unfair targets of what she implies is another system of “oppression.”
“It is harmful to the entirety of the Princeton community: the fear it instills in students fosters an environment of academic hostility,” Santos wrote. “But it is often most damaging for first-generation low-income (FLI) students – students who also often belong to racial minorities.”
The consequences for violating Princeton’s Honor Code include being reprimanded, suspended, place on probation, or expelled. Violations include “tampering with a graded exam,” “claiming another’s work to be one’s own,” and obtaining exam materials before test dates.
(Related: In 2018, a Princeton “Gender and Sexuality Studies” researcher declared “science” to be racist and “gendered” because too many men, in her opinion, pursue the field.)
Having to face punishment for cheating is too similar to the criminal justice system, so Santos wants the rules abolished
Since “minorities” tend to do these things the most, in Santos’ estimate, they face disproportionate punishment compared to lighter-skinned students who obey the rules and thus do not face any punishment.
“FLI students, like many students, are often afraid of disappointing family and friends,” Santos’ op-ed further reads.
“A lack of community support in these situations also puts FLI students at a disadvantage compared to their wealthier peers, whose communities often include people who are college-educated and have been exposed to academic integrity systems similar to Princeton’s Honor Code, and may understand the process better.”
In order to create a “more equitable society,” Santos believes that Princeton needs to have its Honor Code “dismantled.” This would allow for brown and black students to cheat all they want without consequence, creating “equity.”
Even though Princeton allows students accused of violating its Honor Code to appeal the Honor Committee’s decisions for consequences, Santos believes that this process is also racist because of its “mimicking processes of questioning, evidence gathering [and] witness depositions.”
Such a process is inherent to the criminal justice system, and Santos believes that forcing a “minority” student who cheated to undergo it is similar to how “a criminal record haunts previous convicts.”
“Princeton, as an institution that aims to educate world leaders and brands itself with social justice discourse, must first address the existing parallels between the [criminal justice system] and these smaller-scale systems we subscribe to,” Santos wrote.
“Specifically, we must re-examine the role of the Honor Code and Honor Committee in our community. The University should lead by example by dismantling the Honor Code system, which acts as a barrier to social mobility and a more equitable society. Only once such internal injustices are addressed can we make real-world changes.”
In the comments, someone added to the conversation that Santos is clearly stating with her op-ed that minorities are disproportionately cheaters and criminals, which in and of itself is racist.
“This should de-legitimize them greatly, should they adopt this policy,” wrote another about what will become of Princeton if it listens to the likes of Santos in creating new policies. “The university system is dead.”
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