I have dedicated four years of my life in a journey at a so-called "respectable" university in the Middle East as an undergraduate student pursuing my degree. In this journey, a period equivalent to half of my time spent in the university had arrived whereby unrest and protest coupled with surge in COVID cases saw our classes shift towards online learning and online exams.
It was during this period that I got to encounter countless cases of cheating and corruption among my colleagues mainly during online exams. I offer four main cases of far-fetched cheating:
In my Calculus III and IV courses, I recorded approximately 120 students cheating via WhatsApp groups by sending each other snapshots of the exam questions.
Other than the de facto method of obtaining answers to assignment questions from experts (Chegg), I have a huge amount of evidence that students hired academic professionals who would complete semester-long projects for them in exchange for adequate amount of money (and final year projects!)
The department I am enrolled in during my undergraduate studies allows for junior/senior undergraduates to take part in undergraduate research with professors who are working with PhD students. I had two individuals (who also took part in mass cheating during exams) asking me and even attempting to bribe me to do their research tasks.
Four students openly boasted about hiring experts to sit and do GRE exam for them (during lockdown period)
For (1) I sent an email to the coordinator of the course showing them all the evidence needed, for which I received a reply with an encouraging note from the coordinate vowing that they will investigate the matter. Eventually, nothing really happened and no one was disciplined.
For (2) I received a response in one instance from my instructor telling me that no cheating was eventually concluded and that all the projects were graded fairly. In other instances I did not receive a response at all.
For (4) I don't have anything other than confessions plainly stated.
Regarding (3) the only reason why I didn't report to the professor is due to what any honest student fears mostly about, which is developing personal feuds with other students that could escalate into being kicked out from their jock-dominated-social environment, i.e., forced isolation.
I must note that my country is facing a financial crisis and so my university is having a financial burden and sinking slowly. Thus, most students are dependent on financial aid that can be tossed off if a student fails or performs poorly in a course. This type of fear gives ground for individuals to rely on others to do their work or hire tutors for a couple of bucks to accomplish their work and research. This increases their boldness and pushes them to cheat more and more on an unprecedented scale.
The sad part is that professors are also affected by this financial burden and so they are embedded to their research work so much that the rope that connects a professor's support to a concerned undergraduate is cut as it is apparent that professors just "want to get the job done" and they have no time for us. Therefore, no professor seems to be taking any complaint from a student seriously.
Question 1: How should a student go on to address issues of cheating if instructors are unwilling to take these issue seriously?
Question 2: How should a student willing to disclose evidence of cheating handle the possible repercussions involving a social pressure exhibited by these cheating students towards the honest student?
I have personally developed mental health problems due to this issue and I lost motivation to study or look at my classmates as human beings. I personally am still in a state of shock knowing that cheaters got away with it (GRE!!!) in a period of 2 years and are now currently pursuing their graduate studies in top European and US universities or working in top industrial companies. This has led me to develop a grudge against my university as I feel that my university's poor response to cheating was a personal attack on me and many hardworking students.