Sunday, December 02, 2007

Of plagiarism and kangaroo courts

Writing of a student plagiarism incident covered in the NYT on 18 Nov 07, a commenter stated:

the professor is engaging in a process in which he or she is the investigator, prosecutor and judge. This ad hoc process is neither just nor impartial. Colleges have procedures in place. Students should know that any accusation of misconduct will be evaluated in a fair process where the rights of the accused are respected. The kangaroo court of this professor’s office can never provide that assurance.

In his incident, Merrill (and many who write for newspapers) get no "due process." In contrast, SIU President Poshard was judged by a panel of underlings, and was found guilty of "inadvertent plagiarism" and basically walked away. A procedure of sorts, but not an objective one. Further, to believe the SIU panel, plagiarism was not defined in the SIU student handbook at the time of Poshard's thesis.


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