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Anonymous UProfessor: Plagiarism

December 7, 2012

It’s Friday. I’ve given two tests, and I have a couple of class’ papers to pick up next week. Thank god this week is over. I won’t spend much time on actually reading and grading the papers. That’ll  just complicate things. I’ve already recorded their grades. Reading the papers is pointless. I’ve read enough of them to know that I don’t need to read the whole paper to know that it’s terrible. Half of them are plagiarized, anyway. The idiots don’t know that I can enter ten lines into Google search and find out where they plagiarized the source. I tried out Chimpsky. That works okay.

The department installed Attributor and Copyscape onto four of the department’s computers last semester. One of the hardass profs decided to check out the programs. Out of the eighty papers  submitted to him on disk, sixty-three papers were found to be at least partially plagiarized. One paper was stolen in its entirety with absolutely no legitimate attribution. The works cited page was a sham.  I was surprised that the grad student who ran the tests was willing to squeal on her fellow grad students. In retrospect, perhaps I should say that it isn’t so surprising. Most graduate students are butt-kissers who will do anything to ingratiate themselves to department graduate faculty.

I’ll thumb through the tests between naps on the couch in my office next week. The hardest part of it all will be to decide whose grade will be changed from a B to an A. I give every student a chance to resubmit his paper to get a higher grade, but in one class only one kid has taken me up on the offer. Most students are just glad to have finished the paper. Isabella— what a pretty name— has resubmitted three papers so far. Her spelling is awful (even with SpelChek to help), and her written expression is mediocre. She does do legitimate research, though. She’s got good ideas and a nice manner of expression. When I returned the first paper that she resubmitted for a higher grade, her grade had been changed from a C to a B. She told me that she wanted to talk to me in private.

When we arrived at my office, she broke down in tears and thanked me for the B. She said that she had never gotten higher than a C on a paper before. She’s not like some of the other graduate students who think that they’re God’s gift to mankind who whine and cry if they don’t make an A.

A few years ago, one little jerk grad student actually withdrew from the university in protest because he got a B in my class. The semester wasn’t even over yet.  He announced his plans to several profs. Nobody tried to talk him out of it, and nobody explained to him that if he withdrew, he’d lose his scholarship. (This department is so desperate for graduate students that most of them are admitted to the department’s graduate program with a scholarship and an assistantship). When he submitted his withdrawal form to the registrar’s office, he was told that he needed to supply a letter of explanation. His letter maligned me and a couple of other professors. He saw the light of day when he re-enrolled the next semester and learned that he had lost his meal tickets. His graduate thesis was a mess, but the department was so glad to get rid of him that his thesis committee sent him off with an A. He butt-kissed his way into getting two grad facs to sign letters of recommendation for him. I hear that he’s actually teaching at a crummy little community college in a nearby county.

I think I’ve made up my mind. Isabella will be my A student for the year. She’s not a butt-kisser. I’ll have to distance myself from her next semester so she doesn’t think that the A is a prelude to some sort of special, forbidden relationship. That sort of thing happens around here, but it doesn’t happen with me.

I just got off the phone. It was Isabella calling to tell me that she wouldn’t be in class because she was still working on her paper and he computer suddenly froze. She can’t print it out, so she may not be able to turn in her paper today. She sounded like she was in tears. I am almost in tears myself because I forgot to cancel class for today.

So much for my nap.

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