Failure is so hard to taste, even at an institution like Harvard that celebrates the lessons that failure instills. 125 students are being investigated in a freshman government class. But former students of the university attest to having seen a lot of cheating happening. This is definitely the case in most universities, whether public or private.
But I do agree that it would be more so at the world's most prestigious university because now we have a bunch of Type A students that think success is guaranteed and any possible chances of not getting the grade they desire is viewed as frightening. Harvard is looked upon as an esteemed institution and being able to succeed in such an environment is widely regarded. There is some pressure that comes with this and the debt that a student is faced with upon graduating.
The thing that is surprising is that most bright students including myself avoid failure like the plague. It is pretty well-known that greatness comes from having failed greatly and a lot of people associated with Harvard like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg have dropped out and gone on to monstrous successes. Here we have the case of students trying desperately not to fail an open-book, open-note, open-Internet, take-home final exam.
But it isn't about failing, it is actually about not getting an A. The other problem is with taking shortcuts. Whatever happened to reading a whole book and writing up a report for class in high school? In the Internet age, we can say goodbye to that as students are quick to point out that everything can be looked up online.