COLUMBIA KIDS SNEAKY SITE'S TOP USERSColumbia University's walls may be covered with ivy - but its halls are allegedly filled with cheaters.
The people behind a college "study" Web site, where users can pay a $9.95 monthly fee and get all the answers to their homework, said yesterday that they have more users from Columbia than from any other university in the nation.
Cramster.com said it named the prestigious college's student body the No. 1 customer after spotting a high number of users with Columbia e-mail addresses.
"Not only do we have the most users there, but they are the most active," said Aaron Hawker, the site's CEO. Nationally, Columbia bested schools like Ohio State, LSU, the University of Southern California and UCLA to be the top Cramster user.
In the New York area, it leads a list that includes No. 2 SUNY-Stony Brook, No. 3 NYU, No. 4 Yeshiva University and No. 5 St. John's University.
Cramster bills itself as a place where students can participate in an innocent virtual study hall, working out answers online like any dorm-room cram session of old.
But the site contains hundreds of textbooks with answers included. And critics charge that many users simply copy all the information without doing any work.
"I really dislike Cramster.com. Essentially, online study groups are great, but they need to be moderated by the instructor, not convert to a pure copy solutions place, which Cramster is," said SUNY Buffalo Professor Arnd Pralle, a leading opponent of the site.
Yesterday, students at Columbia said using the site wasn't wrong.
"It's not cheating, it's awesome," said Daniel Gray, a 20-year-old major in physics and film. "Those who rely on it [for answers] get screwed. It's to help students who want to learn, and it helped me."
Hawker said that, despite having textbook answers readily available, the site does not condone cheating.