Whatever comes to mind: Bad choices lead to trouble

Whatever Comes To MindBy George Flynn | Opinions Editor

Duquesne University’s Academic Integrity Policy is not a document to be treated lightly. Upon reading the policy at the beginning of my academic career, I never cheated on a test and always made sure to double check my work for plagiarism or forgotten citation.

The Policy declares that the institution is passionate about their search for truth, and anyone that dishonors or fails to demonstrate integrity they will be in a lot of trouble to say the least.

Our Integrity Policy should not be the only reminder to veer students from cheating on tests or plagiarize essays. If we turn to our past we can see how scandals have fallen on the strongest of men and women caused by the loss of integrity and dishonesty.

We are constantly being reminded to be the best people we can be when others are not in today’s society. With the recent resurfacing of new tapes of the Richard Nixon Watergate scandal on Aug. 21, we remember that no matter how powerful an individual can be, he or she can always be brought down.

Nixon announced his resignation as President of the United States in 1973 due to a series of incidences referred to as The Watergate Scandal.

This scandal, which shook America in the 1970’s, occurred during a break-in at the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters in Washington D.C. The men who broke into the headquarters worked for Nixon’s re-election team and attempted to put hidden cameras in the enemies’ domain. Nixon denied having involvement with the incident, until recordings of previous meetings were found.

Over 300 tapes were shared with the world revealing Nixon’s involvement in the scandal. These tapes in which he purposely recorded made these audio diaries the cherry on top of his reign, and resignation as President of the United States.

One way Nixon could have avoided the debacle, would be to not have recorded a thing. That much is obvious. Keeping so much proof of his doings was the political equivalent to keeping a diary and hiding it from your siblings. Someone is going to find it.

But clearly the most important way Nixon could have avoided the scandal, would be to refrain from being greedy, desperate and malicious in the first place.

This notorious scandal which shook America reminds us to think twice about the actions we take, especially in the public eye.

Another scandal we can all recall from the summer is the mighty Butter Queen, Paula Deen.

Paula Deen disgraced herself and destroyed her empire with one racial slur. This was revealed when Deen was charged with a lawsuit for racial harassment by a former employee. Deen made unsympathetic attempts at apologizing to the public for her harsh words and disgusting behavior. Discrimination is not something the world does not accept, especially when these behaviors come from someone that is held at high esteem by the public.

Deen’s edible kingdom she built for over two decades, crumbled to pieces. Her deal with the Food Network has gone awry. With one huge and insulting word, Deen ruined her reputation and career.

She could have avoided this, simply by refraining from using harmful words. She could still have shared her butter battered dish with us and eaten it too.  Luckily, the Food Network will not take her back.

The presence of the new Nixon tapes 40 years later reminds the public that secrets do not stay low under the radar for long, let alone forever. No matter what you do, it will come out to find you. Remembering to keep a tight grasp on your concept of honesty. Doing the right thing is important. Don’t do wrong, unless you are accepting of the fact that your actions will come back to harm or destroy you.

Don’t send text messages or photos that you don’t want people to see. Don’t say harmful words, unless you are prepared to be called out on them. Always be kind to others and always treat yourself with respect. Never plagiarize or cheat on tests. And read the University’s guidelines on Academic Integrity. It’s there for a reason.

George Flynn is a senior English major and can be reached at flynng@duq.edu.

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