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Sherri Tombarge
Editorial Services
P: (540) 464-7207
F: (540) 464-7443

111 Smith Hall
Lexington, VA 24450

Raise a Ruckus. Start a Movement

FullTextImage/img/@altA VMI Cadet asks a question during one of this afternoon's presentations in Cameron Hall. -- VMI Photo by John Robertson IV.

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 continued today, as the current generation of students took the lead in discussing and presenting strategies for encouraging academic and personal integrity.

LEXINGTON, Va., March 6, 2012 – “The front line is here, at schools,” Dr. David Callahan told VMI’s Leadership Conference during one of today’s afternoon sessions. “Turn up the heat.”

Callahan took the stage in Cameron Hall to talk about how to create a movement, one starting with this conference.

“This movement needs to push our high schools and universities to care more about cheating, to find the resources,” he said, noting that student movements have made a difference in a range of issues including sexual harassment on campuses, diversity issues, and sourcing of school clothing to businesses that don’t run sweatshops.

“When students shout loudly enough about an issue, when they push for change, things happen,” said Callahan. “If you want to stop cheating in your school, you need to raise a ruckus.”

That, said Callahan, is the first goal of the new movement. The second is to find allies.

“Why can’t Congress get involved in the cheating issue? I’d like to see public hearings and official reports that go after schools which turn a blind eye on cheating.” The movement needs to make enough noise to get heard in high places.

“If you want results in this society, you need power. And that means getting people with power to take up your cause. And that’s something that other student movements have done and that’s something that this movement must do,” said Callahan.

“This is a huge issue of national importance. It should be treated as such.”

Earlier in the day, a panel of professionals who had served on the honor committees of VMI, Washington and Lee university, the College of William and Mary, and the University of Virginia reflected on how that service has influenced their lives and the challenges they face as they move forward with integrity. The conference closed with a talk by Medal of Honor recipient Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta.

–Sherri Tombarge 

–VMI–