A grotesque mutation left Philip Laroma Jezzi — a half-British, half-Italian professor…

… at the University of Florence — unable to overcome his dark ethical side.

[Jezzi] was allegedly put under pressure to withdraw his candidacy for a qualification as a professor of tax law.

Jezzi claims he was asked to step back so that a less qualified – but better connected – candidate could put himself forward, and was promised he would be selected next time in exchange for the favour.

Instead of accepting the offer, he reported the incident, which happened during the 2012-13 academic year, to police, and spent the subsequent years secretly record[ing] conversations with senior academics which have shed light on how widespread the exchange of favours was.

One phrase from the incriminating phonecalls, transcripts of which were published by Repubblica, has prompted a particular backlash in Italy.

When Jezzi protested about the way qualifications were being awarded, he was apparently told: “What will you do, appeal? That way you’ll risk your career. Stop doing things the English way and do them the Italian way.”

Benvenuto in Italia!

“The rector of the Athens University of Economics and Business (AUEB) has admitted that the campus is being used by peddlers in counterfeit goods, and especially cigarettes, and that this has been going on for at least a decade.”

Your regular update of the Greek university system.

Weep for what little things make them glad.

Poland’s very ex-foreign minister was recorded without his knowledge a couple of years back, dishing obscenely on all things Polish. His critique of the Polish university system has just been released.

“You know, [American universities] understand what all those [Polish] rectors — those d**kheads and layabouts — over here fail to comprehend — that, you know, the main financing for universities can come from … endowments. It’s just that you need to have a database,” [Radosław] Sikorski reportedly said…

He was allegedly responding to [his dinner partner], who said: “I saw those f**king [American] campuses, all of it, those budgets at those universities, the five billion that Stanford has annually…. Five billion is the money they have to spend. One third is from endowments, one third from grants, one third from invested funds. So five billion is, f**k, huge business.”

UD‘s not quite sure if this guy’s division of Stanford funds, and yearly availability of those funds (he doesn’t talk about what they actually spend, and universities like Stanford are famous for hoarding their endowments), is anywhere near accurate, but she wonders if he knows how paltry a number five billion is for Stanford. Its wealth is vastly, vastly greater than that. She also wonders if either of these guys, who are basically complaining about public funding of universities in Europe, knows how much government subsidy Harvard, Princeton, and Stanford receive.

Update, Greek Universities

As for student representation in the Rectorate, this is another privilege given to students that essentially ties the hands of university administrations. Students seldom agree with administration decisions. For instance, the issue of hiring private security staff for campuses in 2014 was met with violent reactions from party youths. No security staff was ever hired. As for Rectors and Rectorates, they cannot even report thefts taking place in campuses. When computers are stolen from university premises, university administrations report that “they are missing,” because theft is too strong a word to use.


Can’t argue with the results.

The founder of the Central European University says the president of Hungary has created “a mafia state.”

And George Soros seems to think Hungary’s president will take that as an insult.

For all who love universities.

And democracy.

Allons enfants!

French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron on Saturday called on U.S. scientists, academics and entrepreneurs at odds with Donald Trump’s administration to move to France.

“[V]arious Spanish media outlets have published at least 10 different examples of material allegedly plagiarized by [Francisco] Suárez, including [from] his own father, Francoist historian Luis Suárez.”

The obsessively plagiarizing president of Spain’s King Juan Carlos University allegedly steals work from his own father (author, by the way, of the “hagiographic entry for Francisco Franco in the 2011 Diccionario Biográfico Español,”), but I’m sure Dad doesn’t mind. (I wonder who he named little Francisco after?) What sort of father would object to his son stealing his work?

I bet Luis stole his work from his father. These legacy things are very Spanish.

Meanwhile, Francisco has refused a request from the regional parliament to testify about the matter. He’s way not in the mood to talk about it.

Neigh-Saying in South Korea

Scrutiny of [a close associate of South Korean President Park Geun-hye] resurfaced in recent weeks due to questions about her daughter, Chung Yoo-ra, who was accepted to an elite women’s college called Ewha University. Her admission raised eyebrows since the university reportedly gave her extra credit for achievements in dressage, or competitive horse dancing. Ewha’s president resigned amid the allegations of preferential treatment.

“In Germany a few years ago, the government forced the resignation of a minister who was a plagiarist. In Bologna, we reward the accused.”

And therefore, as an econ professor at Bologna University announces to his students in a recent letter, “I cannot in good conscience ask you to respect the plagiarism rules which Bologna University allows its own professors to violate.”

Go ahead and cheat: You’re in Italy!


UD admires Lucio Picci. His rage at endemic university corruption has been brewing for so long that it’s bubbled up with something entirely new: An invitation to his students to take their part in the corrupt-from-top-to-bottom world of the Italian university.

Why not? The letter, with its examples of several recent cases of highly decorated Italian professors found guilty of rampant plagiarism but who cares, is attracting a lot of attention, which was no doubt Picci’s plan. Good for him.

Not that the shameless Italians will be moved to change anything here; but the larger world needs to be warned about the farcical Italian university system. There are plenty of other countries where you can study.

Ukraine: The Wonderful World of …


Canada: We Don’t Want to Damage People’s Reputations Just Because They’re Liars and Thieves.

Unlike the US of A, sweet reticent little Canada won’t tell you which of its country’s professors have been found guilty of research fraud. It might hurt their future research fraud prospects.

Ditto for the universities harboring the little fuckers: Might damage the schools’ reputation to have it known that they’re squandering taxpayer money on bullshit research.

Even attempting to report on the problem yields No Comment from the cute shy taxpayer funded agencies which might suffer embarrassment should it be known how their cover-up of Canadian research fraud continues to make Canada safe for research fraud.

“Several sackable offenses”….

…and another article UD found it difficult not to giggle through. (Like this one.)

Highlights from the career of Murdoch University’s Vice Chancellor Richard Higgott:

“[A]ccessed adult websites on his work laptop almost 500 times… When he was asked to return the laptop, Professor Higgott downloaded scrubbing software onto the computer in an unsuccessful attempt to delete all evidence he had accessed the websites.”

In an email to a colleague about the faculty senate, complained about the f***king cheek off [sic] these people”.

In another email to a colleague, wrote of the Chancellor, “I will not spend the next two to three years thinking he is the boss and I must seek approval before I fart.”

Circumvented hiring processes to push through the appointment of a woman who referred to him (again those pesky emails) as

“my dearest Higgy”, “Higlet” and “Your Higginess” and signed off with “xoxo”.

He refers to her as “Honey”, “Capling my luv” and “Capling my dear”.

Your Higginess is good.

Intellectual Evolution of Russia: Descent with Modification

Duma member Igor Igoshin allegedly earned his economics degree by turning someone else’s paper on the Russian chocolate industry into a thesis on meat; the dissertation replaced every mention of “chocolate” with “beef,” “dark chocolate” with “home-grown beef,” and “white chocolate” with “imported beef.” All numbers, charts, and analysis were preserved in their original form. More recently, Dissernet revealed that an oncologist named Yuri Tsarapkin had handed in a medical article about breast cancer that was adapted—data and all—from someone else’s paper on stomach cancer. That paper, which was presented as a study of human subjects, turned out to have been plagiarized from yet another source: a study of cancer in dogs and rats.


UD thanks Jeff.

The Italian University System: A Brief Update

La Sapienza, Rome’s most prestigious university, is plagued by favoritism. In 2010, a third of the faculty counted close family members among their colleagues. Even university admissions are tainted by corruption: Two years ago, a box of university entrance exams at the University of Bari was tampered with before the test, leaving many skeptical of the fairness of the exam. This leaves the education and careers of young Italians up to a corrupt and nepotistic system…

In an interview with Brown Political Review, Beppe Severgnini, one of Italy’s leading journalists, explained that the main issue young people face in their education is a total lack of accountability. “It’s not even possible to translate this word [accountability] into Italian,” Severgnini joked, describing the way that faculty in Italian universities can treat their jobs and obligations with minimal care and face few consequences. Italian students lacking family connections must become independent and resourceful. “In a perverse manner, in those universities it becomes a sort of natural selection,” he said. “I’ve taught in the US, where, whether you’re a better student or a weaker student, there’s a wave that brings everyone out.” But once these talented students make it through the system, many of them leave — particularly those who have already made the jump from the South to the North, where the quality of higher education tends to be higher. “I call it the ‘triple jump,’” Severgnini said. “So they go from Palermo to Rome to Berlin. Or Bari to Torino to Boston. Bang; bang; bang.”

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