The Environmental Protection Agency revealed on Sept. 18 that Volkswagen cheated on government-mandated emissions tests, allowing the company to sell “eco-friendly” diesel cars that emit nitrogen oxide fumes 40 times over the legal limit.
For over five years, Volkswagen programmed 11 million of their clean diesel cars with elaborate software designed to track steering wheel and pedal movements.
When the software determined the car was being put under an emissions test, it switched the system over to pollution control mode, which temporarily lowered the amount of toxic gases emitted and allowed the cars to pass inspection.
The company’s losses have been swift and steep. CEO Martin Winterkorn resigned; stocks plummeted; lawsuits from across America and Europe are being filed; and the EPA is threatening more than $18 billion in fines for violation of the Clear Air Act.
Volkswagen has yet to release an explanation of why they placed the regulation-dodging software in their cars, but, of course, speculation abounds.
In the end, Volkswagen wanted a way to capitalize on the environmental concerns of today’s consumers without putting in their share of the legwork.
Like Volkswagen, students are very familiar with the pressures of test taking and—unfortunately—the temptation to cheat.
The Educational Testing Service reports that “73 percent of all test takers, including prospective graduate students and teachers agree that most students do cheat at some point. 86 percent of high school students agreed.”
Other statistics from the same study show cheating has risen from 20 percent to 75 to 90 percent among high school students in the past 60 years.
Cheating ranges from elaborate, multi-billion dollar schemes like that of Volkswagen to taking shortcuts on an assignment, sharing answers, or dishonest computer use. No matter the scale, in God’s eyes, it’s all the same.
Several factors contribute to the rise in cheating, including increasingly stringent college acceptance requirements, minimal punishments for cheaters, easy access to answers online and the growing tendency to focus on grades only, rather than education as a whole.
However, human sin nature is ultimately to blame, not societal pressures.
As young men and women just beginning to build professional reputations, we at The Collegian urge the student body to remember that the value of a good name far outweighs the short-term benefits of cheating.
Listen to the words of King Solomon as he took the time to write in two separate books, “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold,” (Prov. 22:1) and, “A good name is better than precious ointment;” (Ecc. 7:1).