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Conference Concept Originates with VMI Cadets

FullTextImage/img/@altVMI Honor Court President Quinn Adams addresses the conference. – VMI Photo by Kevin Remington.

The 500-seat Gillis Theater on the VMI post was filled to capacity with high school and college students and teachers from across the nation as VMI’s second biennial Leadership Conference, “Cheating, Lying and Honor in America’s High Schools, Colleges and Universities,” opened yesterday. The conference continues today, as the current generation of students takes the lead in discussing and presenting strategies for encouraging academic and personal integrity.  

LEXINGTON, March 6, 2012 – The topic for this year’s Leadership Conference was put forward by cadets from VMI’s Honor Court who wanted to make a difference in how students in America’s colleges and high schools perceived the concepts of cheating and integrity.

Cadet Quinn Adams ’12, president of the VMI Honor Court, addressed participants in Gillis Theater yesterday afternoon, explaining the Honor Court’s involvement in seeking a forum for a nationwide discussion of cheating, lying, and honor.

“This conference would never have happened if not for an idea brought forth by the VMI Honor Court,” said Capt. Susan Rabern, director of VMI’s Center for Leadership and Ethics, in introducing members of the Honor Court.

Adams noted the importance of having a discussion that includes many points of view with the participation of many institutions.

“We’re not promoting this conference as something where VMI has all the answers,” said Adams. “If we can all put together and implement the ideas we talked about today, we can make a difference.”

Adams spoke of making a fundamental change in the way society views cheating, and he sees this conference as being “the first step in that journey.”

“We are the people who will lead that change: the people in this room today,” said Adams. “Our generation has the chance to fix it. If we don’t take up the mantle of leading now, we’re just kicking the can down the road.”

Members of the VMI Honor Court fielded questions following Adams’ address.

Cadet William Coursey ’13 explained the nature of VMI’s Honor Court as a system administered by cadets and for cadets.

“This system is completely run by cadets. It’s all their decision who they want to represent them,” said Coursey. “It’s not easy a lot of the time. Sometimes there’s blowback when someone popular gets dismissed, but most of our classmates respect us for what we do.”

Members of the Honor Court acknowledged that no single system has all the answers and that there is always room for improvement.

“We’re perfecting what we have and we’re creating what we don’t have,” said Adams.

–John Robertson IV