Cindy Bither
Administrative Assistant
P: (540) 464-7207
F: (540) 464-7443

111 Smith Hall
Lexington, VA 24450

Cheating, Lying, and Honor

VMI Conference to Open Dialogue

LEXINGTON, Va., Jan. 9, 2012 – In classrooms, homes, and dorm rooms across the country, students are tested. They face multiple choices on exam sheets and in their daily lives. For many students, the most challenging question is this: “To cheat or not to cheat?”

The VMI Center for Leadership and Ethics, host of the 2012 VMI Leadership Conference, “Cheating, Lying, and Honor in America’s High Schools, Colleges and Universities,” seeks to open a dialogue among educators and students.

“We’ve talked to experts who have been conducting scholarly research on the psychology of academic cheating and have come to find out how complex the problem is,” said Capt. Susan Rabern, director of the Virginia Military Institute Center for Leadership and Ethics. “We’ve learned that in order to reverse the problem, it will require the engagement of not just faculty and staff, but also students as peers.”


The conference, which will be held March 5 and 6, is geared toward high school and college faculty, staff, and students, including honor councils and honor societies.

The agenda for the conference includes presentations by educational psychologist Eric Anderman; David Callahan, author of The Cheating Culture: Why More Americans are Doing Wrong to Get Ahead; James Stewart, author of Tangled Webs: How False Statements are Undermining America: From Martha Stewart to Bernie Madoff; and Medal of Honor recipient Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta. Kathleen Rice, Nassau County, N.Y., district attorney who is currently prosecuting an SAT cheating case, will also address the conference.

Rabern said the focus of the biennial conference on the epidemic of cheating in America’s high schools, colleges, and universities originated with members of VMI’s Honor Court.

“We began the planning in the spring of 2011,” she said. “Since then, we’ve come to find out this is a national epidemic that begins in elementary school and continues through the highest levels of the American education system.”

Speakers will cover topics including who cheats and why, toleration, accountability, and moral courage. Small group discussions and workshops are also planned to encourage ownership and motivate positive change.

“I think a lot of young people feel like they are under intense pressure to succeed academically,” said conference speaker David Callahan. “Polls show college students are more stressed out than ever before, and I think those stresses are related to the epidemic cheating we see in our schools.”

For more information about this conference and The Center for Leadership and Ethics, visit

–Margaret Weimer