The Starwood Hotels & Resorts chain recently commissioned a study. They questioned 401 business executives and CEOs with an average household income of $187,000 on a variety of golf and related issues. Golf is considered the game of business, an honorable sport where the players themselves are responsible for policing their own activity. But with that honorable environment in mind, it turns out that 82 percent of those executives admitted to cheating on the golf course. An astonishing commentary one might say on the average golfer. However, that astonishment quickly turns to disgust when one finds out that the survey also found 86 percent saying they cheated in business.
With the current public downward spiral of many a CEO and major corporation on the skids of corruption and lies, one can only wonder what the true story about the American ethical situation really is. Are these trends indicative of an greater erosion of societal morals, or is it a case of a few bad eggs spoiling the bunch? I believe that honor is not dead in our culture, but it has definitely become a lost cause. If we as a society do not embrace it and proclaim it, however, it will soon die.
The recent scandal at the University of Virginia is not barely the first of its kind, but has opened eyes because of the high profile of the school and the widespread extent of the scandal. Could this really have taken place at Jefferson's own school? In fact, the University of Virginia is unique among universities in that it has an honor system dating back to 1842 that is student administered and is binding on all students. Under this system, a student found guilty of even a "single sanction" is permanently dismissed from the University. If the sanction is found after graduation, the degree will be revoked. At an institution so steeped in tradition, how could such a disgrace take place?.
Academic honor systems in general have proven to be effective, with students who work under them admitting to significantly less cheating on tests and copying of papers.