Ethics as defined by the Merriam -Websterdictionary is a set of moral issues, principals, and/or values. For example, itis not ethical to waste food. It applies to human beings in many ways, howeverthe main part of this discussion is ethics as it applies to instructors and thelessons that are taught here at the Fires Center of Excellence. Ethics canbe a challenging thought especially when it comes to things like copyright, oreven into the gray area of cheating and plagiarism, but an inappropriaterelationship created between teacher and student can break the moral code ofethics all together. These challenges are overcome through use of the sevenArmy Values, and our Moral compasses.
There are many things that we as instructorscan do to protect ourselves, the first is to avoid copy right infringement. Ofcourse, I am talking about taking someone else’s product which was previously acknowledgedby the community as a copy righted work of art and presenting it without theauthority or authorization to do so. An example of this would be using the “Cupof Tea” video, commonly used by Sexual Assault Response Coordinators(SARC), andUnit Victim Advocate(UVA) in briefings to explain consent. The video of course wasCopyrighted in 2015 by “RockStarDinosaurPiratePrincess”and “Blue Seat Studios”. It may be a great learning tool, however without thepermission from the works owner, to the United States Army it can be found inviolation of Title 17, Chapter 5 of the United States Code. Although at thetime of this paper, there was no known Article in the Uniformed Code of MilitaryJustice(UCMJ) or the Manual for Court Martial(MCM.
) Of course, copy right infringementcan be cover under Article 134 of the UCMJ as a catch all. I also believe inthe instances of classroom work, there is a Commander’s Policy that would coverthings like cheating and plagiarism.Cheating and plagiarism seem to be two veryslippery slopes these days. It seems there cannot be one without inevitablyhaving the other.
The question is, what is the difference between the two andhow is it affecting the instructors? The defrauding the system or evendeceiving in some way, can is categorized as cheating. In the case of aclassroom environment, it refers to a student taking an examination or test ina dishonest way because of improper access to answers. In a way, plagiarismalmost defines cheating and narrows down the definition of cheating by takingthe work of another person and taking the credit as one’s own, therefore”cheating” the system and even the student themselves out of what could havebeen a valuable learning opportunity. The student who has committed plagiarismhas not only cheated him or herself out of the chance at what is valuable informationabout their job. It also wastes the time of the instructor between therepercussions of the cheating and the lack of knowledge the student has nowobtained by not doing their own work in the first place. It however, creates ateachable moment for the instructor to can show their students how to learnfrom their mistakes and not repeat them later in life. Even today, societyfrowns upon cheating; however, plagiarism has become an everyday occurrencewhether it be using the musical hook from that one commercial as the basis foryour next hit song to using and downloading a research paper off the internetbecause of varying reasons and hoping that your teacher did not have the commonsense to catch you. Nevertheless, climbing down the rabbit hole of cheating andplagiarism is a scary experience because everything is seemly a plagiarism ofsomething else.
We decide what is right and wrong and where the gray area isset by using ethics and our moral compasses. Plagiarism and cheating does notjust affect the student themselves, but the teacher and everyone around them bycreating a ripple effect of negative consequences. Speaking of negative consequences, the relationshipbetween a teacher and student is as sacred as the tomb of King Tut. These relationshipsare built on trust, respect, and the belief that the teacher wants nothing morethan to give instruction and mentorship to the student. I am of course talkingabout inappropriate relationships.
These relationships can range from a sexualrelationship, to just being a friend to your students. Your students did not cometo your class looking for love, or for a buddy. It is the responsibility of theinstructors here at the Fires Center of Excellence to give purpose, direction,and motivation to our students. Our students’ responsibility is to learn asmuch as they can about their job and the United States Army. To have an inappropriaterelationship with a student diminishes the integrity of the instructor, theclassroom and the United States Army. Even the act of favoritism breaks themoral and ethical codes, and has no place in the classroom.
In closing it is important that we allrecognize our moral compass, and which way it points. It can and will guide usthrough the toughest of times, whether it be a battle buddy violating copyright laws, or a student plagiarizing someone else’s work. Our code of ethicsand the seven Army values can and will ensure that we the instructors are ableto maintain order in chaos, and peace in the classrooms of war.