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When caught plagiarizing…

… admit you cut corners and pledge never to do it again. Very simple. Your public statement should have two sentences, tops.

People never learn this. Ye olde ego seems to make it impossible. Instead of a brief apology, you get Surprenants. Surprenants are named after ex-Manchester University professor Annmarie Surprenant, who was found to have slapped A‘s on all her student exams and returned them without mussing one eyelash in actually looking at them. (This class management method is especially popular now that online courses are the rage. Venetia Orcutt, an ex-colleague of UD‘s at George Washington University – chair of its physician assistant program! – did nothing for the entire duration of two online courses and awarded all of her students A’s.) Cornered, Surprenant went on and on about her glorious misunderstood being:

I am quite politically incorrect, outspoken and have never adhered to the oft-repeated and probably excellent advice to ‘watch your back’, because I believe watching one’s back will never move us forward.

This makes me an easy target for a certain type of person. Half-truths, false accusations and malicious gossip readily ruin one’s reputation in the eyes of that certain type of person. But in the end it is your work that stands.

Moving us forward… But my work will stand!

And now you’ve got Deborah Martinez, a University of New Mexico public radio reporter who plagiarizes her stuff. Here’s her apology:

“I’ve earned four Associated Press awards over my decades-long broadcast career, producing hundreds of stories with the aim of telling the truth,” she writes in an email … “I made a mistake and was disciplined for it and KUNM and I now move forward with the same goal of informing the public in an open and honest way about news that affects them.”

Moving forward again! Always moving forward!

Scathing Online Schoolmarm doesn’t know quite what to say about people who allow the same self-regard that got them into trouble to generate the apology for having gotten into trouble. This isn’t really about helpful editorial hints. Character is destiny.

Margaret Soltan, April 16, 2014 8:36AM
Posted in: Scathing Online Schoolmarm

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3 Responses to “When caught plagiarizing…”

  1. Joe Fruscione Says:

    We’re always moving forward from these kinds of things, it seems. Is there a playbook for this kind of stuff?

    *A star professor plagiarizes or sexually harasses a student? Let’s move forward. The students need it.

    *A coach or athlete violates rules, hurts someone, and/or takes money? Let’s move forward. We don’t want to dwell on the past.

    *A president or other senior administrator turns out to be a liar and a fraud? Let’s move forward and rebuild our campus community. We’re sorry if you were upset by it.

  2. JND Says:

    It’s always someone who doesn’t want to hear about his or her screw-ups in the past who encourages us to move forward.

  3. Barbara Says:

    I wish they would just be honest but I guess that is the main problem.

    – “I was too lazy to say it in my own words”
    – “I took it from an unknown author’s boring academic journal article. I didn’t expect to get caught. The author should be happy that I liked their phrasing enough to publish it as my own.”
    – “I was meeting a deadline and didn’t have time”

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