Universities caught cheating

February 2, 2012

As this New York Times article makes clear, when universities are forced to compete for money and honors–exactly what their students are forced to compete for–they do exactly what they teach students never to do, namely, cheat. To climb the U.S. News & World Report rankings, universities have been caught twisting the meanings of rules, cherry-picking data or just lying. The most recent example involves Claremont McKenna, which apparently is “the highest-ranking school to have to go through this publicly and have to admit to misreporting.”

It is becoming increasingly difficult for universities to provide any moral guidance for students when they themselves are morally bankrupt. The lesson here is not about a few deviant administrators but rather about a system based on competition, which inevitably seems to bring out the worst in people and institutions.  

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