Thursday, February 07, 2008

Ohio U students getting a pass on plagiarism?

On Feb. 7, the Athens Post had an editorial titled: Easy way out; Students who plagiarized theses need to rewrite reports, receive penalties with the first full paragraph noting:

Recently, two former mechanical engineering students who were accused of plagiarism in their graduate theses were allowed to eliminate — not revise — massive sections from their reports and resubmit the edited theses with no penalty whatsoever. One of the edited theses still contained material that was almost identical to a master thesis submitted in the past, and the other was not even subject to literature review, a standard practice for all masters’ theses.

Students found guilty of plagiarism should be punished, not accommodated by the very system they wronged. While the actions of the students were unethical, the actions of those in charge at the Russ College of Engineering were even more distasteful. Rather than ordering these students to rewrite their theses — rewrite them, not cut and resubmit them — the college essentially gave them a free pass by allowing them to submit incomplete reports. It seems that the college is more concerned with burying this controversy than it is with doing what is ethical. The professor in charge of the investigation even said that the academic integrity of the work is more important than its quality — while that may, in some ways, be true, it’s no excuse to throw quality out the window.

IPBiz notes that it is difficult to argue for "strong" penalties for the former Ohio U. students against the backdrop (baseline?) of the non-penalty for former-SIU student Glenn Poshard matter given at SIU. Plagiarism is merely a frightening word tossed about in academia. When the rubber hits the road, however, there's nothing really there. As the Harvard Business Review wrote: Plagiarize with Pride!

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Separately, of the Athens Post, IPBiz noted: Can't Touch This: Thank Democrats in advance for letting Republicans win of Feb. 4, which included the text:

Romney, however, shows promise. Discounting the loser’s bracket because they both are failures at this whole “Republican” thing, the race is between a liberal and a conservative. Romney is a success at running a large business, as well as public relations. He proved that when he scored big for Salt Lake City and helped bring the 2002 Winter Olympics there. Expect a future column in which I explore Romney’s conservative credibility in greater detail.

By Feb. 7, we have from AP: John McCain effectively sealed the Republican presidential nomination on Thursday [Feb. 7] as chief rival Mitt Romney suspended his faltering campaign. "I must now stand aside, for our party and our country," Romney told conservatives.


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