JULY 2007 -
The article “Academic Dishonesty: A Crisis on Campus”
(May 2007) focuses almost entirely on punishment for transgressions.
I would suggest that fear of discipline should be the second line
of defense; the first line of defense is to help students understand
that cheating is a waste of their time and money.
spend thousands of hours and tens of thousands of dollars at college
to prepare for a rewarding, productive life. Research papers and
examinations are an important part of a college education. Research
papers teach students to perform research, organize material,
and present their views clearly in writing. Examinations provide
an opportunity to review lessons and reading and gain a greater
understanding of course objectives. Grades, hopefully with insightful
comments, tell students whether they are learning the material
presented. Good grades indicate the students are on track; poor
grades indicate that students need to study more, seek remedial
help, or change their field of study.
diploma acquired by cheating has little lasting value. A college
diploma demonstrating academic accomplishment, especially in a
preprofessional program like accounting, is a strong foundation
to a successful career and a fulfilling life.
Toder, CPA (Retired)
agree that effort should be placed on preventing acts of academic
dishonesty. We believe two areas need to be addressed in order
to deter academic dishonesty: a change in culture, and development
of appropriate policies and procedures for preventing academic
dishonesty and handling such acts if they occur. According to
various studies by Professor Donald McCabe, the founding president
of the Center for Academic Integrity (CAI), as cited in our article,
creating a culture that encourages academic honesty is very important
to prevent acts of academic dishonesty from occurring. The writer’s
suggestion to help students understand that cheating is a waste
of their time and money should be part of the efforts in creating
such a culture. One way this can be done is through orientation
sessions for freshmen and transfer students. Implementing an honor
code (as we described in the article as one of the first steps
that should be taken) is an important step in fostering a culture
that values an honest pursuit of education.
encourage colleges to take steps to create a strong culture of
academic honesty, implement policies and procedures to handle
academic dishonesty, and to make sure that such policies and procedures
are followed. If acts of academic dishonesty are not handled properly,
we believe that other efforts (such as your example) will be less
Burke, Ralph S. Polimeni, and Nathan S. Slavin
Hofstra University, Hempstead, N.Y.
Resist the Temptation.
to respond to Lou Grumet’s Publisher’s Column in May,
“Should Non-CPAs Be Allowed to Co-Own CPA Firms?”
I am a CPA, licensed to practice in New York since February 1974.
I worked my first eight years at a Big Eight firm and have worked
in industry since then. I have also taught as an adjunct professor,
undergraduate courses at Fordham University and graduate courses
at Long Island University.
that further diminishes the perception or the reality in the public’s
mind of the professionalism and independence of CPAs is a very
bad thing. It is not a question of weighing the pros versus cons
in this matter; I see it as all cons.
suggesting that CPA firms can’t pay their employees whatever
the market requires to retain the services of any number of qualified
individuals in varied fields to ensure staff retention and high-quality
audits, but CPA firms need to be 100% CPAs. I say, if a firm wants
to accept an attest engagement, the firm must be 100% CPAs. H&R
Block can hire (and give ownership to) whomever it wants.
I would think
that the profession learned its lesson from the go-go pre-Enron
days when we did “risk-based” auditing. The one thing
that makes the CPA a learned profession, the one thing we can
do that no one else is qualified to do—attest—we gave
away in order to sell consulting engagements. Post-PCAOB, this
has changed. I could show you my Big Eight firm’s audit
approach manual from 1973, and the audit work we are doing now
is totally comparable to what we routinely did on audit engagements
then, if a little less so.
Like my mother
used to ask me when I was a kid: “If Johnny runs off a cliff,
does that mean you have to also?” Well, if 45 states run
off a cliff, should New York, the preeminent state for CPAs, jump
off the cliff? Resist the temptation. Running with the crowd might
seem popular at the moment, but people will respect our position
and I predict will eventually come back to our side.
My vote =
100% (or nothing). Either we’re CPAs or we’re not.
Don’t confuse easy or popular with right. Let New York set
the example. When I was in a Big Eight firm, the New York office
would get a lot of work from other states. I even had a client
in an out-of-town city where we had a practice office on the same
block, but the client wanted New York CPAs, not local ones from
the same firm.
J. Scala, CPA