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Plagiarism by teachers:
Why is it handled differently from plagiarism by students?

Sue starts a topic, April 26, 2002 -

After I finish my final exam for spring semester, I will have a lot of time to wander around. I am going to write to you guys regularly since I feel my writing is still so weak. Also I hope you guys can get to know more about me and let me know more about you!

I would like to introduce what's been happening on campus these days. There was one controversial case which happened recently. There is a professor who plagiarized another professor's data and prose in our university. At first she claimed that the other professor plagiarized her data, but later she was found to have stolen the data and prose. This case was investigated by a special committee at our university which found her guilty finally. Also this committee made the decision to dismiss her. But later the president of our campus reversed this decision and decided to reinstate her position. He said he thought she should be given a second chance. He also said his decision was based on his respect for her work in the past. He hoped all that had happened would be a learning experience for her, and hoped that she could return to the respected academic community.

We wrote our opinion about it today. My opinion is against the president's decision. I feel it has compromised our academic integrity. When students are found to have committed plagiarism, they can no longer take another class at the university. They will be expelled. But when faculty are found guilty, such a decision is much different from what is expected. It seems the university has two standards, one for students and one for faculty.

We are told to be honest, and that cheating will not be tolerated. The university is trying to educate students about about the seriousness of plagiarism. Faculty should be prevented from engaging in plagiarism just as intensively. They are our advisors, so how can we look for guidance and inspiration from those who are not honest.

The president's decision is disrespectful to the hard working, intellectual group. It has threatened the university's academic integrity.

Above is my opinion. What do you guys think about it?

Rachel responds, April 26, 2002 -

What a coincidence. There's a case similar to this in Taiwan.

A graduate student was found to have plagiarized the MA thesis from her advisor's thesis. What's even more ridiculous is that the advisor is the president of a private university where the graduate student is studying in her MA program and also the graduate student's mother. The graduate's title of her thesis is the as same as her mother's except for the addition of three words: "The study of..." Her mother claimed that there's no regulation prohibitting a mother being her daughter's advisor. Besides, all researchers know that a thesis includes a literature review chapter which in this case is identical in more than 11 pages with the literature review in the mother's thesis. Other data e.g. figures and graphs are from the graduate student's own survey. The members of the thesis defense committe have spoken out for their own good, claiming they had no idea that the advisor was her mother. What is happening now is that the ministry of education is investigating and is likely to deprive the graduate student of her degree if found true.

Vance responds, April 27, 2002 -

I agree fully with Sue and Rachel (who says this kind of thing is 'ridiculous'). The administrative response should be something more than a 'hand slap'. How could someone in an academic department work with a known plagiarist? It seems that the person would be forced to resign through dynamics in the workplace, if he or she couldn't justify his/her actions to his/her peers.

John responds, April 27, 2002 -

Very interesting story. My question is how can we possibly teach that plagiarism is wrong if we don't punish the teachers as well as the students? All this incident teaches is that I just have too wait until I'm a teacher before I plagiarize.

Just my $.03 (adjusted for inflation).

John, MI

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Last updated: April 27, 2002 in Hot Metal Pro 6.0