Ay, Romania, Romania, Romania, Romania, RoMANia!

Let us sing of a country all of whose prime ministers (well, more than a few) plagiarize their dissertations – dissertations written merely, it seems, to append DR to their names.

Seldom has the search for respectability led so many to such disreputability.

Indeed Romania’s current prime minister (in 2012, this blog covered the last plagiarizing prime minister) is plausibly accused of plagiarizing a third of his military thesis.

That’s a bit less than the 2012 guy plagiarized, so bravo…

And yet… UD has been writing about plagiarism long enough to know that when the given figure is a third, the actual figure is probably… Just making a rough calculation here… Let’s see… Uh… Yes. Got it: — The real figure is one hundred percent.

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UPDATE: Amusing motive-explanation here.

Lift Every Voice and Press SEND

A reader alerts UD to a University of Kansas provost who plagiarized the MLK Day inspirational message he sent to everyone at the university. “If you want to go technically, then yes,” he replied when asked whether he did it, shaming all us tight-asses who care more about the trivial technicality of stealing other people’s words than the wild sweeping grandeur of uplifting sentiment.

D.A. Graham highlights “communications specialist,” “integrity leader,” “and “Adjunct Faculty: Writing” on his LinkedIn page.

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UPDATE: Lift every voice, press SEND, and resign. Respectable schools keep a very close eye on their reputation (except when it comes to sports, of course). Kansas is a very good school, and will fire people who bring it into academic disrepute.

A provost who sends plagiarized material out to the entire school under his own signature belongs at a school like (cough) West Liberty. West Liberty retains a plagiarist president. Reputable schools won’t even let a provost get away with it.

Octoplagindigeneity Among the Quandamooka

There’s indigenous “story weaving,” and there’s weaving together an academic article by plagiarizing from eight sources.

Eight? As I’ve learned over years of blogging about plagiarism, the number is probably closer to twenty.

Particularly contemptible in this case is Sandra Delaney plundering multiple unpublished dissertation theses. Stealing from young people who’ve not even gotten a chance to have their voices heard is really disgusting. Kill them when they’re just out of the womb.

Brutal colonization among those who make their living denouncing colonialism. A commenter at Retraction Watch writes: “One of the most ironic cases of plagiarism ever.”

Arash of Plagiarism

For details of the latest, AMAZING, academic plagiarism, it helps to read French. Because even though attorney/politician Arash Derambarsh’s cut and paste définitivement rises to the level of English-language-world interest, someone has decided it won’t travel well. Listen up to realize just how wrong that is.

  1. Almost every word of his dissertation, at deadhead Paris I Pantheon-Sorbonne, is plagiarized.
  2. Just in case anyone might look at it, he somehow got the university to agree to keep it secret for thirty years – because it contains incredibly sensitive, high-level, top-secret material, see.
  3. For its part, the university assigned as his committee various buddies and non-specialists, all of whom – vive la France – passed the thesis with flying colors.
  4. Someone managed to get hold of the thing, despite its ultra-top-secret status, and determined that it was entirely plagiarized, which forced the hand of deadhead Paris I, which began an investigation. Investigators were unable to find “the missing mandatory report on the defense (which legally has to be entered into the academic record for a PhD to be valid).” Derambarsh’s thesis advisor advised that it “was in a computer that had been stolen.”
  5. Arash submitted to the investigators an entirely different piece of writing, this one cleansed of copying. Ballsy.
  6. The thesis was voided; Derambarsh may never again register at any French university for any course of study.
  7. He’s been disbarred.

‘But the prime minister’s former supervisor, Etienne Criqui, said standards were different before the invention of plagiarism-detecting software.’

Luxembourg’s prime minister committed plagiarism “unparalleled in its scope”in his master’s thesis. The headline in the Guardian says it all:

‘Only two pages’ of Luxembourg PM’s university thesis were not plagiarised

‘[O]nly “a few paragraphs in the introduction” and “an equally short conclusion” had not been copied wholesale…’

… Which leaves us free to imagine what those stunningly original intro and conclusion paragraphs had in them. Let’s see… hm…

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I should like to thank my wife Babette, and our daughters Lucette and Lunette, for their steadfast love, support, and patience, as I sweated bullets to get this thesis in on time. Only they can know, because they lived with me throughout, what labor this work represented, and how many piano and dance recitals I had to miss because of it. Forgive me! I hope this accomplishment of mine can in some way compensate for, or at least explain, my absences.

**********

I leave these pages with bittersweet emotions. My close study of voting systems in the European Parliament has been rigorous and even exhausting; and yet, as I bid it farewell, I find myself surprisingly melancholy, surprisingly reluctant to give up the work and hand my thesis in to my mentor, Professor Criqui*, whose no doubt minute reading of this work will result in extensive critical commentary and (I hope) a truly deserved A!

**********

*Author of the forthcoming Post-Plagiarism-Detecting Software and the Collapse of the European University .

**********

UD thanks Elizabeth.

‘Under [W. Franklin Evans’] leadership at [South Carolina State University], enrollment exceeded its goal and fundraising increased by 687%, alumni support improved, and the university achieved a balanced budget.’

Can these claims be true? Longtime observers of SCSU know it’s a basket case; how could anyone have accomplished these remarkable … accomplishments there?

Hey, maybe the dude did… But if I were reviewing his self-presentation at West Liberty University, I’d vote against making him president…

But they did; they did make him president. And now they’re stuck with this disgraceful career plagiarist as the head of the school.

‘As a student at the University of Salzburg, [Stefan Weber] realized that the [intellectual] triumph his teacher had foreseen long ago [for him] was not going to be found in math. Despite his prodigious memory, he was unable to follow the university math professors and instead turned to “the idiot degree everyone studies: communications.”’

The guy UD routinely relies on in her posts about plagiarism gets a New York Times feature.

“Keep in mind that we’re not counting, here, the high school principal (heartfelt commencement speech) or the man of God (sermons). Although they always bring a sparkle to UD‘s eyes, these cases [of plagiarism] are too measly to be worth noticing.”

Or not. Apparently Sermon Stealing is worth noticing (by the New York Times!) on a sort of high-season basis, when one instance of it goes viral and prompts urgent discussion about the morality of getting emotional in front of the flock and testifying to someone else’s love of Jesus as if it were your own.

This latest shock and awe that ill-educated inspirationalists copy their betters will blow over in a sec, and the Bible Belt Industrial Complex will resume operations.

Nothing is real. Nothing to get hung about.

While plagiarism accusations have proven a number one reason for political resignations in the Merkel era, they usually centre on politicians’ doctoral thesis. Baerbock’s [plagiarized] book, entitled Now: How We Can Renew Our Country, is a mass-market nonfiction title in which the Green politician lays out her political philosophy, ghostwritten by a journalist.

Somewhere, under the pile of plagiarism, ghostwriting, and vacuous title, lies – I think – a person, a Green party leader… Does she have a name, or did her parents hand that too off to a ghostwriter?

Oh, Baerbock. Does it say “Baerbock’s book” up there? In what way is a ghostwritten plagiarized pre-pulped poopoo platter Baerbock’s book? And since when does the Green Party endorse wasting paper on plumped up platitudes?

University President Resigns Due to Excessive Weirdness

Who knows why the University of South Carolina president, addressing a proud contingent of students and parents on an important day, referred to the students as lucky graduates of the University of California? Who knows why he for the third time (reportedly) recycled in this speech a plagiarized paragraph from a speech by a famous Navy Seal? Who knows why (according to some observers) he slurred his words throughout?

I don’t know why. But let me speculate about Bob Caslen, who has now resigned. Let me begin with the psychoanalyst Adam Phillips:

These are parts of ourselves – that don’t want to live, that hate our children, that want ourselves to fail. Freud is saying there is something strange about humans: they are recalcitrant to what is supposed to be their project.

I think anyone reviewing Caslen’s odd behaviors (which, according to some, predate this speech) would want to entertain the possibility that he hates his job (the university bestowed it unwillingly; he has been an unpopular president) and wants out; but rather than grasp that fact forthrightly (a military man, he has always done his duty) he has at it were allowed his unconscious to have its way with his situation. He has allowed his recalcitrance to what is supposed to be his project to emerge, and USC got the message.

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For a wee bit more insight into the whole “unconscious” thing, consider the fact that in Donald Trump the USA experienced its first president with no apparent unconscious. He lost an election and this made him mad; to get the election back he sent a mob to the Capitol to kill his vice president (who made him mad), take out the Congress, destroy democracy, and get back what he wanted. When desperate allies called him from the besieged building, he blew them off and went back to enjoying the riot’s tv footage. Now THAT’S having no unconscious. Recalcitrant to his project? Just like Ubu the King, Trump was happily blowing up the world to achieve his project.

But this is very rare. Outside of select psychopaths, most everyone has an unconscious.

News from Trump Country

After referring to his institution as the University of California in this year’s commencement speech, the president of the University of South Carolina plagiarized, verbatim, a paragraph about personal ethics.

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How do you achieve this outcome?

Let’s put aside things like a drop of the hard stuff. Without that it seems pretty unaccountable, no?

Here’s what UD figures, FWIW:

Like many busy people, the president of the University of South Carolina has a squad of speechwriters. Here perhaps are the two things that went wrong:

  1. He mentioned to one of them that he liked this one quotation a lot, and it seemed real pertinent, so could the ghostwriter work it in. Sure, boss. Only the ghostwriter (who may have been a student) stuck it in without attribution.
  2. I’m gonna go with an overly obliging spellcheck on the California thingie. Student’s typing the speech real fast and misses the fact that after she puts down the letters University of Ca the app figures she means California and helpfully fills that in for her. As to why the president went ahead and read California – that’s an easy one, eh? He’s never seen a word of the speech before delivering it, and he’s on automatic pilot, paying very little attention to what he’s saying, thinking mainly about the reception right after the speech… … …
We’ll have an old-fashioned plagiarism; excused in the good old-fashioned way…

[Sing along:]

I’ll vow it’s coincidental;

They’ll vote me rector on the very next day…

Elizabeth, a UD reader, sends me word of Jerzy Gwizdała, an economist at Gdańsk University, who just loves him some plagiarism.

Jerzy plagiarizes in the absolutely classical professorial mode, a mode familiar to any reader who’s been on board University Diaries for any time (check out my PLAGIARISM category if you need refreshing): You steal from the work of smarter, more industrious, students; you steal repeatedly, from a variety of such sources; you steal almost entirely verbatim; you expand your markets by translating the plagiarized material into various languages and publishing in foreign outfits; when cornered, you brush it off as a not very interesting, and very minor, set of coincidences.

Entire sections of [a student’s paper] were “copy-and-paste” plagiarized from [the student’s] PhD thesis. 

Gwizdała also translated sections of [the same student’s] PhD thesis to English in 2018, sent it to the University of Gdańsk Publishing House, and had it published as a book chapter. 

The student notes JG’s response:

Gwizdała issued a statement in which he claimed that the alleged plagiarism instances were just an “ostensible (seeming) coincidence of some excerpts (pozorna zbieżność pewnych fragmentów).”

And after all, stealing from… students… peons … isn’t really stealing… They should be honored that we … incorporate their work into our own…!

Here is King Jerzy, reveling in his finery shortly before he was stripped of it. Not that the Polish university establishment has found the balls to fire him; he has been “suspended” from all duties. So his punishment seems to be that he pulls down a full salary (?) while sitting on his ass.

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And why old-fashioned? Because it was all a coincidence has become threadbare, and is rejected by most modern plagiarists. The next time Jerzy gets caught, UD would advise him to use one or more of the following:

  1. My assistant did it.
  2. I suffer from cryptomnesia.
  3. I have substance abuse issues.
  4. I have problems at home.
Just a handy reminder of two of UD’s most venerable truths:

1.) Plagiarists almost never plagiarize just once. Plagiarism is a compulsive, prolific act.

2.) In America, school superintendents are notorious career plagiarists. I’m not sure why this group in particular is always rising to the top; but in years of blogging, I’ve covered school superintendents more than any other group.

School Superintendent’s Apology for Plagiarism is a Run-on Sentence.

The guy probably earns around $200,000, but he’s too lazy/semi-literate to write a brief thank you note to the school community without plagiarizing it. Almost the entire letter is lifted from other sources.

Like a lot of people who do this (and for some reason school superintendents are particularly keen), he adds to his admirable traits a certainty that the fools he works with will never detect the theft.

His apology demonstrates why he stole. The man can’t write.

I know this behavior is not acceptable and minimizes my intent to tell you that I understand that last Spring and this school year have been very challenging for all of you and let you know that I truly do appreciate everything that all of you are doing to meet the needs of all our students and families and supporting each other.

The man can’t write, and he runs an entire school system. Why don’t the people of Rochester Minnesota think they deserve better than this?

Pity Magali Roques, a perfectly innocent cell biologist at the University of Bern.

She shares a name with naughty serial plagiarist Magali Roques, a medievalist who steals from just everybody. Naughty Magali plagiarizes at so high a level that she is reported to be “the sole philosopher recruited by the [prestigious] CNRS for a junior position last year.” Details here.

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