Follow the honor code

To the editor,

Northern Kentucky University is an academic institution. Students pay tuition at Northern to receive a high quality education and to receive the university’s endorsement. This endorsement certifies a student’s academic achievement in the form of a degree. The reputation of an institution is vitally important in determining the value of its endorsement.

The university’s own academic reputation is directly related to the perceived value of the degree issued. Therefore, the university’s reputation is of the utmost importance to students of the university.

The completion of a college degree requires years of work and no small amount of funding. This hard work and commitment should be regarded with absolute respect.

I find it absolutely disgusting that representatives of the university have tarnished their own reputations, as well as the university’s through poor academic integrity.

Scholarship is an honorable and worthwhile pursuit. Academic success is not an easy accomplishment. The hard work of Northern’s students should be protected from the destructive actions of irresponsible persons. The actions of one can and often do cast a shadow over the integrity of an institution. I believe that such a situation has come to pass within our university.

Recently, Northern has been plagued by a rash of plagiarism. Specifically, I am referring to research misconduct that took place in the college of business, and the latest case of plagiarism committed by vice president of academic affairs for the Student Government Association, Trey Orndorff.

I am concerned that both of these incidents have weakened the academic reputation of Northern Kentucky University. The second of the two previously mentioned incidents is especially disturbing, because it came from the vice president of academic affairs. Such a position should carry a responsibility to uphold the integrity of the institution of which he or she is associated. Such an act can directly damage the reputation of a university. Of course, any damage done to the university’s reputation is then passed on to its students. These reprehensible actions have insulted and damaged the work of the university’s faculty and students.

I believe that the university took commendable and appropriate action in the handling of misconduct within the college of business. NKU made it quite clear that plagiarism will not be tolerated from faculty members.

The university Honor Code also governs work submitted by students in the process of completing an academic pusuit. The Honor Code is a vital tool in protecting Northern from ridicule. My concern is that the Honor Code does not hold students accountable for plagiarism committed outside the classroom.

Northern should take direct action against all forms of plagiarism, committed by representatives of the university, regardless of where these violations are committed, especially when such violations occur in published media that is sponsored by the university.

The recent controversy surrounding Trey Orndorff provides an opportunity for Northern to protect itself from the practice of plagiarism. Trey Orndorff is the vice president of academic affairs for the SGA.

Orndorff is therefore a representative of academics at Northern Kentucky University. In a recent article published by The Northerner, Orndorff produced a document found to be “60 percent” plagiarized. This fact was recently exposed and published in The Northerner. This unethical behavior has damaged the reputation of the university. Serious action should be taken against this kind of behavior.

-Kenneth Crawford Senior, history