Early this month, news broke that 34 students at Duke's business school face various degrees of punishment for cheating on a take-home exam and other assignments. And apparently those students aren't the only ones who seem to have lost their scruples.
A national survey of business students conducted by a Rutgers professor indicates that 56 percent of graduate business students admitted cheating in the last year. When undegrad students are added to the mix, the number jumps to 74 percent.
Associated Press columnist Rachel Beck says the Duke scandal and the survey results taken together demonstrate the need for a law like Sarbanes-Oxley -- especially when you consider the researcher's explanation for the survey results: Students view "cutting corners" as a skill they will need to use to survive in the real world of business, so they have no qualms about putting it to work in the classroom.
It's an "end justifies the means" mentality that should concern corporate America, Beck says. If they'll do it in school, at the very least they'll be tempted to do it at work. That's why Sarbanes-Oxley and the deterrence culture it creates are crucial.
To those advocating a scaled-back Sarbox, Beck has this to say:
If they think Sarbanes-Oxley is costly and time-consuming, try an Enron-sized fraud trial.