The other day, a friend of mine who is an untenured professor (not in statistics or political science) was telling me about a class where many of the students seemed to be resubmitting papers that they had already written for previous classes. (The supposition was based on internal evidence of the topics of the submitted papers.) It would be possible to check this and then kick the cheating students out of the program—but why do it? It would be a lot of work, also some of the students who are caught might complain, then word would get around that my friend is a troublemaker. And nobody likes a troublemaker.
Once my friend has tenure it would be possible to do the right thing. But . . . here’s the hitch: most college instructors do not have tenure, and one result, I suspect, is a decline in ethical standards.
This is something I hadn’t thought of in our earlier discussion of job security for teachers: tenure gives you the freedom to kick out cheating students.