Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Due to circumstances (how's that for vagueness?), I'm reporting the student who plagiarized to the campus disciplinary board. I spent my bike ride home dissecting exactly it makes me feel so crappy. What kind of crappiness, precisely, was I experiencing? Guilt? No; I think I'm doing the right thing, and I don't blame myself for the student's plagiarism. Regret? No; likewise. Pity? Not exactly, although that's getting closer to the mark: I believe the student when they say that this issue is affecting their other work, and their life in general, and I honestly think it's too bad that's the case. That last clause led me to think - what if I'm just sad? Sad because an obviously hard-working (usually), not unintelligent, ambitious, friendly student has just made an enormous error of judgment, and they're going to have to face the consequences of that mistake. Yes, their life will be affected by this. So will mine be. And I'm certainly annoyed, but I'm also sad that I no longer have the same regard for this student as I used to, and that they and I will be dealing with this bad decision for at least the rest of the semester.


Jane Dark said...

I felt the same way with my first plagiarist -- and then I found out what turning her in to the Plagiarism Czar really meant: namely, an uncomfortable meeting, a 4-hour workshop lesson on academic ethics, and a note in her file that would only become relevant if she plagiarized again.

Then I didn't feel so badly. I had thought that I was putting a black mark on her file that everyone would see, which wasn't the case at all.

I *did* feel badly about the conversation it seemed she would have to have with her parents. And there's just no way in which being the whistle-blower is any fun.

kermitthefrog said...

Hmmm. You make an interesting point; our disciplinary office is rumored to be quite lenient. Maybe it's too early to feel sad.

luckybuzz said...

I get the conflicting feelings and the sadness....but personally, I have virtually no patience or sympathy for plagiarism. But I think you're nicer than I am. :)

Chaser said...

I cried like a baby after taking my first plagiarist to the Honor Court. They were really mean.