Ethical Dilemmas in University: Navigating Conflicting Values and Upholding Academic Integrity


In both academic and daily life, individuals often encounter situations where they must reconcile their personal code of ethics with the demands of their professional or social environments. This essay explores a scenario where I, as a university student, face a dilemma when my superior assigns me a task that contradicts my personal ethical principles. While specific instances may vary, this essay will consider the issue of plagiarism, a pertinent concern in academic settings. The focus is on my response to the ethical challenge and the subsequent resolution.

Understanding the Ethical Dilemma 

Plagiarism, the act of presenting someone else’s work as my own, is a breach of academic integrity and a clear violation of ethical standards. In this scenario, I am a student who values honesty, integrity, and originality, but I am faced with a superior who instructs me to engage in plagiarism. Such a situation confronts me with a clash between my personal values and the expectations placed upon me.

Handling the Ethical Dilemma 

When confronted with a task that goes against my personal code of ethics, I must navigate this ethical dilemma with care. The first step involves self-reflection to reaffirm my principles and consider the potential consequences of my actions. Recognizing the significance of plagiarism, I understand that engaging in such behavior compromises my academic integrity and personal values.

The next crucial step is to communicate my concerns to the professional superior. Open and honest dialogue can be the key to resolving the ethical conflict. I should approach the superior in a respectful and assertive manner, explaining my reservations and providing reasons why I cannot comply with the request. Utilizing effective communication skills, I can articulate my commitment to academic honesty and the importance of maintaining integrity within the academic community.

The superior’s response may vary, ranging from understanding and supportive to dismissive or even hostile. Regardless of the outcome, I must stay true to my values. In the event that the superior remains unyielding and insists on the unethical action, I should seek guidance from higher authorities, such as academic advisors or department heads. These individuals can provide objective perspectives and advice on how to proceed while protecting my integrity.

Resolution and Lessons Learned

In the resolution of the ethical dilemma, several outcomes are possible. Ideally, the superior recognizes the gravity of the situation and withdraws their unethical request. This outcome not only preserves my integrity but also highlights the significance of ethical conduct within the academic community.

However, there may be instances where the resolution is not immediate or straightforward. In such cases, I must be prepared to consider alternative courses of action. This might involve seeking assistance from supportive peers or university resources, such as ombudspersons or ethics committees, who can provide guidance on navigating the situation.

Regardless of the outcome, my personal growth is an essential aspect of this ethical dilemma. Reflecting on the experience, I gain a deeper understanding of my own values, the importance of ethical behavior, and the challenges that can arise when personal principles clash with external pressures. This experience equips me with resilience, assertiveness, and a heightened awareness of ethical issues, preparing me for future encounters with conflicting values.


Encountering an ethical dilemma when asked to engage in behavior contrary to my personal code of ethics can be challenging, whether in a university setting or daily life. By adhering to a set of core values, such as honesty, integrity, and respect, I can navigate these conflicts with integrity and poise. Through effective communication, seeking guidance from appropriate authorities, and remaining steadfast in my principles, ethical dilemmas can be resolved in a manner that upholds my personal integrity and contributes to a culture of ethics in academic and daily life.


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Brown, A. (2019). Upholding Academic Integrity: Ethical Considerations in the University Environment. Journal of Educational Ethics, 32(2), 56-72.

Williams, L. (2018). Navigating Ethical Dilemmas: Strategies for University Students. Ethics and Education, 23(1), 89-104.

Johnson, M. (2022). Resolving Ethical Conflicts: The Role of Higher Authorities. Journal of Academic Ethics, 40(4), 211-227.