11th 2008
“I’m so totally complaining to my parents about you!!!”

Posted under: students, wankers

How often do I get to report good news?  (Not often enough!)  While my computer is in the shop, being debugged and re-rigged with new software, I can happily pass along news from Inside Higher Ed that two students on Semester at Sea got kicked out of the program for plagiarism!  Ha-ha!  Schadenfreudelicious!  Kudos to the University of Virginia for not backing down on enforcing its Honor Code.

I guess it’s not enough to be on a cruise ship in the Mediterranean  while occasionally reading books, writing papers, and reporting for class–some students apparently want to be relieved of all intellectual labor.  (Ed. note:  fine with me!  Cruise your tragically overworked hearts out for a semester–just don’t expect college credit for it!  Duh.)  The sad thing is that parents of the poor dears may well side with their little cheaters–after all, they paid good money for those grades! 


10 Responses to ““I’m so totally complaining to my parents about you!!!””

  1. Knitting Clio on 11 Aug 2008 at 11:44 am #

    Not surprising if you saw the “Road Rules” series that was set in Semester at Sea, where the students seemed to spend more time sunbathing and drinking than studying. Kind of an undergraduate version of the “Love Boat” as well.

  2. Historiann on 11 Aug 2008 at 12:25 pm #

    Well, but to be fair: watching people study doesn’t make for good TV, now does it?

    Kind of like GayProf’s comment about the new movie “Tenure.” His comment was something like, “what would that look like? Two hours of watching someone type?”

  3. Bing on 11 Aug 2008 at 12:50 pm #


    God, what a chance blown.

    I have often wanted to make plagiarists walk the plank. Was there a plank? Please say there was a plank!

    Oh, rapture! Now my heat is all very heterosexually aflutter.


  4. Bing McGhandi on 11 Aug 2008 at 3:10 pm #

    “heart” is aflutter.



  5. Indyanna on 11 Aug 2008 at 3:14 pm #

    I hope your computer gets better soon! What a crazy bunch of stories bundled in that link you provided to IHE. I think if memory serves UVA took over the SAS program from the U. of Pittsburgh. Maybe there’s a lesson here in these landlocked academies operating maritime programs? They should possibly call it *Semester of GETTING TO Sea* and put the kids up in Motel 6s along the interstate down to Newport News, where they could crack down and actually make them study. Survivors could then ship out in January.

  6. Historiann on 11 Aug 2008 at 3:28 pm #

    Walk the plank: if only those SAS professors had your imagination, Bing! (I’m guessing that they were very determined to be rid of those cheaters, and that walking the plank may have occured to them, too.) As it was, the cheaters were asked to disembark somewhere in Greece–what a hardship! (Not.)

    Indyanna: I hear that Newport News has a great Semester at Sea program. It’s called enlisting in the Navy and going to sea on a destroyer or a nuclear submarine, and I’m guessing that writing a term paper about the North African front in WWII or the Blau Reiter movement in German Expressionist painting is probably about the lighest duty that you’d see for years at a time.

    Did you like the line about how “borrowing” from wikipedia isn’t really plagiarism? That’s a can of worms that’s opened up by open-source editing software. If there’s no copyright-protected author, is it really plagiarism? (Not an important question to me in adjudicating plagiarism cases, but it’s an interesting question nevertheless.)

  7. Clio Bluestocking on 11 Aug 2008 at 8:07 pm #

    Along with walking the plank, they could be keelhauled or kiss the gunner’s daughter. It could be all a part of an educational demonstration of historic naval punishment practices for the other students.

  8. Gavin on 12 Aug 2008 at 3:05 am #

    I don’t think plagiarism and copyright infringement are the same thing at all, but they tend to get conflated because lots of people don’t really understand either of them (and it doesn’t help that both are commonly referred to by their opponents as “stealing”, which just confuses the issue). Copyright infringement is a legal matter, but plagiarism is about university rules and professional ethics. There are lots of ways that you can do one but not the other.

    For example, copying an out of copyright text without citing it is obviously plagiarism but can’t possibly be copyright infringement (although many organizations which should know better make blatantly false claims to own the copyright of works which must be in the public domain).

    But if you quote a long passage from a text that’s in copyright (more than is allowed under fair use) and cite it properly then you’re guilty of copyright infringement but not plagiarism.

    So really they’re completely different things which need to be viewed separately. But it would help if more people were better educated about both of them.

  9. Historiann on 12 Aug 2008 at 6:10 am #

    I agree, Gavin–the harm of plagiarism is done to the integrity of the university, whereas the harm of copyright infringement is done to an author. But, I think students don’t always get that they’re separate issues, because of the anonymity of wikipedia.

  10. Tenured Radical on 12 Aug 2008 at 3:12 pm #

    I think the phrase that indicates satisfaction after watching a student walk the plank is “ARRRRRRRRR!”


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