Don’t think for one second this whole cheating scandal is an anomaly. Our university is plagued with cheating—whether the administration knows it or not.
Last week, La Presse reported that a Concordia student and his tutor were embroiled in a cheating scandal. The publication reported that Abdullaziz Almuhaidib, a 24-year-old student, paid his tutor, John Karras, to impersonate him and write his final exam.
This deception was discovered, and both individuals now face an array of criminal charges, according to the Montreal Gazette. Almuhaidib faces charges of “personation at an examination,” along with conspiracy. Karras faces charges of impersonating at an exam, identity fraud, using a forged document and conspiracy, according to the same report.
There were 387 students charged with cheating at Concordia, according to the Office of Student Tribunals, which reports these figures annually to the Senate. This figure represents less than one per cent of the student population, according to Cléa Desjardins, senior advisor of external communications for the university.
While this percentage appears to be fairly low, we should also consider there are many cheaters who probably don’t get caught. There are various ways students can cheat and get away with it.
Think about the numerous tests banks getting released just in time for final exams on student groups, crash-course tutors doing assignments for their students in exchange for cash, or students who group together and take online tests at the same time—many of us have surely heard of students engaging in such activities.
Many students are willing to pay a hefty price for a perfect grade. Attend any of these crash course tutoring sessions, which are heavily advertised around campus, and we guarantee you’ll find someone there willing to do your schoolwork in exchange for money.
If these allegations against Karras are true, then how long has he been doing this for? How many students aced a course because of his nefarious services, or those at Montreal Tutoring? How are these services monitored?
Karras is well known in the JMSB community, and released a statement via his company Montreal Tutoring, saying he will continue to provide tutorials in the wake of these allegations. He also added that his utmost importance is his student’s success.
This merger between capitalism and academia demonstrates the importance placed solely on grades, instead of actually learning the material for educational purposes. It also reflects how cutthroat many programs can be, forcing students to make poor decisions and engage in immoral behaviour.
To the university’s administration, we urge you to wake up and smell the coffee. It’s time to introduce new measures that’ll make it harder for students to cheat, whilst also being aware of possible leaks from those in authoritative positions.
To our fellow students, we remind you that university is not a game. This is not just about getting a degree, it’s about acquiring the knowledge that will allow us to serve a purpose in our field and in society. There’s no room for cheating in the equation, and if you’re feeling tempted, just ask Almuhaidib if it was worth it.