Where two or three are gathered in writing’s name, there is the risk of plagiarism in their midst. Academia, also known as the Domain Of Individuals Who Really Should Know Better, certainly sees more than a few major scandals worm their way into public consciousness every year. Embarrassing to all parties involved, they drive home the depressing commonality of the mindset justifying stealing other peoples’ words and unique ideas and research for personal gain.
Check out Onlinecolleges.net post on 10 high profile plagiarism scandals that rocked higher education – a great read!
While a freshman at Harvard, Kaavya Viswanathan scored an enviable two-book deal with Little, Brown worth $500,000 as well as film options with Dreamworks. Then the young adult smash How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life hit the shelves and readers noticed it was familiar. As in, Viswanathan more or less snatched entire passages from bestseller Meg McCafferty. This discovery cost her the second book deal and instigated a total recall of every copy printed, and all she had to do was offer up a defense about accidentally absorbing the words of an author she admired. But don’t worry, folks! Her story has a happy ending, because cheaters totally prosper. Jamaica Kinkaid accepted her into a high-demand creative writer’s workshop, and Georgetown University offered her a spot in its law school upon graduation.
The late University of New Orleans professor Stephen Ambrose enjoyed the rare jump from academic respect to mainstream success with the publication of pop history successes like The Wild Blue, Undaunted Courage, and biographies of Richard Nixon and Dwight D. Eisenhower. In addition to plagiarizing his fellow historians, such as University of Pennsylvania’s Thomas Childers, journalists and researchers uncovered falsified facts and – most shockingly – lied about the true nature of his relationship with President Eisenhower. While the two did in fact meet for the sake of the biography, they did not enjoy a tight, intimate friendship.
Most of the controversy surrounding this University of Colorado Boulder American studies professor revolves around his incendiary comments referring to September 11 victims as “Little Eichmanns” and subsequent termination of his position. Ward Churchill supporters standing up for his First Amendment rights fail to acknowledge that the school also fired him based on verified plagiarism (to which he only admitted a few instances) and other examples of academic misconduct, including falsified data. The Colorado Supreme Court eventually ruled in the college’s favor in September 2012, though the ousted educator hopes to take his case to the Feds this year and win his job back.
The Ivy League university spent late 2012 launching an investigation into 125 undergraduates accused of operating a complex cheating ring involving plagiarism, copying answers, collusion, and more. An estimated 125 students participated in the underhanded dealings, and professor Matthew Platt brought it to administrative attention after noticing similar and identical answers on his take-home Introduction to Congress final exam. Inquiries continue, and higher-ups attribute the proliferation of plagiarism to technological and Internet advances.
Pal Schmitt, President of Hungary, no longer holds a doctorate from Semmelweis University (or, more accurately, the University of Physical Education, which Semmelweis University later absorbed). The decision came at the revelation that he plagiarized chunks of his dissertation, though the voting bodies expended more energy chastising the school for not noticing than the leader himself. Detractors believe Schmitt should step down from his position as well as the one he holds on the Olympics board, though he harbors no plans to give into their suggestions.
Imagine the surprise experienced by Dr. Maneesh V. Ramesh, P. Venkat Rangan, and Sangeeth Kumar (Amrita University) when they opened up a copy of International Journal of Advances in Engineering and Technology, only to discover their research. Credited under entirely different names. From Karpagam University. Even more egregiously, Romen Kumer and Dr. M. Hemalatha edited very little of the original paper before submitting it for publication! Amrita sent a cease and desist letter asking for them to detract the article and offer up an apology.
Amherst College, ranked the second best liberal arts institution in the United States, lost professor Carleen Basler due to her resignation amidst plagiarism accusations. She confessed to intentionally failing to cite references and stepped down from her position in the American Studies and Anthropology and Sociology Departments after the board assigned to grant tenure noted identical and similar passages between her research and the research of other academics. They conducted an extensive investigation, including bringing in outside scholars to review her work, and ultimately brought her up on plagiarism charges. Dating all the way back to when Basler completed her dissertation, in fact. Yeah, she didn’t really get that tenure.
Because of lax application of the plagiarism policy on the part of Graduate School department head Dr. Paul Ryder, University of Newcastle, students ran riot on the heavy lifting and improper citations. Kind of a huge issue when one realizes its business program ranked as one of the top in Australia. Ryder’s failure to report or discipline perpetrators led to his eventual dismissal – not to mention significant changes to their policy once again.
Dongqing Li is hailed as one of the greatest scientists in Canada today, but he and his promising, award-winning graduate student Yasaman Daghighi have had to retract their current research because of plagiarism accusations. The report in question fails to cite previous publications by MIT and UC Santa Barbara, and the duo remains under watch as investigations commence. Since Li has already received $2 million worth of federal science grants for biomedical and environmental research – with another $700,000 on the way – this scandal certainly holds some far-reaching implications.
Belinda Frost resigned from her ESL post at Southern Utah University in November 2012, but not because she wound up caught plagiarizing. Rather, she reported what she claimed to be widespread, obvious, and entirely provable plagiarism perpetuated by students and received no support from the school itself. In all cases, the accused still managed to move up to the next level of instruction, in some instances even receiving permission to enroll in undergraduate programs. But Frost took her frustrations to the media, meaning a major scandal might very well blow up in 2013.
A cross post from Onlinecolleges.net
Samantha Kotey is the editor for AvatarGeneration and has a background in educational technology and virtual worlds. A mom of two, she is passionate about all things related to toys and technology.