Letters: Cheating And The Mariel Boatlift

Talk of the Nation listeners, after a show about cheating in college, confessed they took some shortcuts, and felt justified in doing so. Also, listeners shared their perspectives on the Mariel Boatlift, both for and against, from the U.S.

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TONY COX, host:

It's Tuesday, the day we read from your emails and Web comments.

Cheating was a popular topic last week. We talked about the high-tech game of cat and mouse between students and schools, and learned that many of our listeners cheated.

John(ph) emailed from Rock Island, Illinois, to confess: I was in an advanced chemistry class with two other students in college. The teacher explained one of us would get an A, one would get a C, and the other an F. To give myself an advantage, I used the program function on my calculator to put in equations and examples. I do not have remorse because in the real world, we will have access to those equations and examples, but I did need to study and work to know how to use those equations.

Another listener profited from cheating, literally. I saw cheating in the form of economics. I saw the demand rise for students who couldn't handle their workload, and for a price I would help alleviate their suffering. I was able to pay my whole semester off with the revenue I took in from just one econ class. That email from Vinnie Parker(ph) in Pinole, California.

We also marked the 30th anniversary of the Mariel Boatlift. More than 100,000 Cubans sailed from the Port of Mariel to the shores of the United States. Many landed and stayed in Miami. Laurie O'Leary(ph) emailed from Norfolk, Virginia, to tell us she was there: I was a member of a cadre of Social Security employees from all over the country who volunteered to help Mariel Boatlift refugees apply for supplemental security income benefits. I have many wonderful memories of that effort, especially of the heart and spirit of the Cuban people. I'm also very pleased you're doing this story today because I'm often amazed at how few Americans today even know what I mean when I talk about the Mariel Boatlift.

The boatlift was nothing worth celebrating for another listener. Jay Weinstein(ph) emailed from Miami to complain. As a Miami resident since childhood, I listened with increasing disgust, hearing of how well everyone was integrated into the community, and it made Miami a world-class city. While some may have done well and become an asset to our community, the tradeoff was not, in my opinion, worth it. On balance, the Marielitos have taken more than given in Miami.

Finally, many of you shared your stories and experience of widowhood. Jean(ph) in Carmichael, California, lost her husband a year and a half ago, shortly after she retired. Your broadcast was somewhat of a catharsis for me. After my husband's death, I did not think I could go on, nor did I feel there was anyone else who had experienced the kind of constant, numbing pain I walk around with. I am no longer a spouse, have no family support, no occupational identity, nor work routine or structure. Along with being alone, my entire life is being redefined. I look for solace, fight for positive thoughts every day, do everything in my power to find a new path on which to walk.

Another listener, Carla(ph), emailed us to tell us we missed a significant portion of our audience. Imagine being a gay woman and losing your partner, wife, significant other - whatever you call her. It's a whole different ballgame. You can't talk to just anyone about it. You don't always get respect and sympathy but judgment, condemnation, misunderstanding, discomfort.

If you have comments, questions or corrections for us, the best way to reach us is by email. Our address is talk@npr.org. Please let us know where you're writing from, and give us some help on how to pronounce your name.

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