Comparing Wikileaks to UCF AnswerLeaks

WikiLeaks Mirror Site
vs UCF Answer Leaks

This is one of those blog posts that’s probably going to get me into trouble. But when has that stopped me.

Today, it’s about Wikileaks, a topic that, until very recently, I didn’t give much thought to. There are two main reasons I have virtually ignored this issue.

One, I haven’t read the leaked files and, therefore, do not know if what they include information that truly endangers the lives of people or merely reveals information that is embarrassing to the U.S. military and/or present or past administration(s).

The second reason, and more regretful one, is that I can’t fully trust those who have read it, neither our administration (the first U.S. administration with genuine integrity in a very long time, in my opinion) and certainly not the media (who is in the business of selling fear, in my opinion).

So I ignored it, except that it reveals an information environment that has changed, and, therefore, requires a change in the climate of how we conduct ourselves locally and globally. I successfully ignored it until just before my banquet speech at the Farm Cooperatives Conference near Denver two weeks ago — Wow, I had to stop and think too hard to remember where that was.

One of the organizers asked me, before the talk, if I would be willing to answer any questions about Wikileaks during the Q&A at the end of talk.  From his expression, I must have reacted the same way I did when Belmont High executed an onsides kick, the end of the season, right into my 17 year old arms.  Guys who play center, don’t carry the ball.  Coach said my eyes got bigger than my head — and the same probably happened when asked to comment on Wikileaks.

I didn’t get the question, but I started to think about it — and even more so when I linked from a tweet by Joyce Valenza to an article (UCF Cheating Incident Sparks Debate about Academic Dishonesty) in the Miami Herald about a cheating scandal at the University of Central Florida. So I got to thinking, is there any way that this college cheating episode might be compared to Wikileaks — and here’s what I came up with…

Issue Wikileaks Answer Leaks
How are they the same? Both stories involved the (covert) leaking of information that was supposed to be secret and secure.
Why are they important? Damages U.S. foreign relations & endangers lives (?) Jeopardizes the students’ preparation for business world and the reputation of the school (?)
Information revealed U.S. Handling of Iraq & Afghanistan Wars and more Answers to test questions on Entrepreneurship (MAN4802 MAN 4720 UCF)
Dangers
  • U.S. soldiers & allies killed or wounded
  • Damage to U.S. foreign relations
  • Embarrassment to U.S. administration
  • Business school graduates unprepared to be entrepreneurial leaders
  • Graduates having gained knowledge without working for it
  • Loss to school reputation
Morality? Two factions – Those who are morally indignant about the leaks and those who morally support them.

(I do not know enough about the episode to have an opinion though I’m pretty sure that Wikileaks itself should not be held responsible)

Two factions – Those who are morally indignant about the leaking of test answers (cheating) and those who believe that it wasn’t cheating.

(I do not know enough about the episode to have an opinion)

Objective of the leaks Transparency: “The truth is out there” Practical: To accomplish the goal – pass the test.

There is certainly a lot more that I could say about both stories, but not without a lot of speculation.  I do know that today’s information and communication technologies have changed the climate of how nations and people should conduct themselves, and secrecy no longer empowers governments to conduct themselves in ways that they would prefer to remain secret.  I am also fairly certain that much of what happens in school testing has less to do with preparing students for their future and more to do with the business of schooling.  So I am left with two questions.

  1. If the actions revealed by Wikileaks endanger people today or tomorrow — then why?
  2. If passing that test by studying test answers from previous semester tests instead of lectures and assigned readings does not jeopardize the future success of business school graduates — then why not?

Author: David Warlick

David Warlick has been an educator for the past 40+ years. He continues to do some writing, but is mostly seeking his next intersect between play, passion and purpose, dabbling in photography, drone videography and music production.