Reflections

In fond memory of plagiarism

Last week I, along with the rest of my class mates, received an email from one of the professors here at Jindal stating that he found most of our recent assignments to be products of cold and bland “cut-paste” processes. He further added that he did not seek our expertise and ability for the cut paste job. Somewhere in the middle of this well elucidated email were three words that nailed it absolutely. Embarrassing, idiotic and unacceptable.

I must admit  that those are three well-chosen words.

It is embarrassing, no doubt, because you don’t want to be that unlucky person who gets hauled up when the rest of the class goes scot-free. Why me when there are others equally culpable?! At times, one is left to ask , “I have gotten away on most occasions and why should today be different?”

It is idiotic. Having been hauled up, One does look like an idiot. How stupid can one feel, when he realizes that he wasn’t worth being graded because of his silly practice. But then, if he/she were clever enough in the first place, they wouldn’t have plagiarized in the first place!

and finally, it is, of course, unacceptable! I am yet to see a professor who welcomes a plagiarized work with open arms. Though admittingly, I am sure everyone would have had a free rein in their school days. (Ah, bless those teachers who not only willfully overlooked our little habits, but also made us top rankers of the class!) Perhaps in the hindsight we should have been warned that the habit can’t work its charm at College/University.

A potential plagiarist may plead innocence by quoting Terence, a comic playwright in the ancient Roman Empire, who once said, “Nothing is said that has not been said before.” Or in the words of Benjamin Disraeli, “Plagiarists, at least, have the merit of preservation.”

Towards the end of last week, my boat was soon rocked by an incident that happened at the prestigious Harvard. More than 60 students were disciplined by the University on charges of cheating and academic dishonesty.  I couldn’t help but to think. “Great. So, it happens at Harvard too.” In comparison, we are mere mortals, eh?

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