Whence Academic Misconduct? Tis the question. I often ponder the ethical implications of plagiarism, and my night job here. At first, I felt a little bad about what I was doing; writing custom papers; doing others’ homework; all the while writing my own dissertation. Not for nothing, my dissertation probably took an extra six to nine months because of this gig. Those were, however, the glory days of the post-9/11 boom, when those of us researching national defense and terrorism were granted an almost infinite stay in the windowless offices of the “grad student section” of our office buildings.
So there I am, plugging away on this dissertation, and writing custom essays on subjects as varied as Trans-Cultural Nursing, the racial correlates of inter-city criminality, and the symbolism of Canada in David Foster Wallace’s “Infinite Jest.” What the fuck was I doing? Here I am – contributing something novel to high-level scholarship, to human knowledge, all the while acting as a hired gun, paid by the page, to write custom papers. Then, it hit me, plagiarism rules, in college, are a joke. When I was a grad student, teaching perhaps my third or fourth class ever, I discovered that 8 of my 29 students had copied their answers from Wikipedia on a take-home exam.
Ontologically, I was confused. Here I am writing custom essays and I’m about to bust some dumbass kids for cheating. And I did! All 8 of those kids got Fs for the class and were put on academic probation. Reread that last sentence. “PUT ON ACADEMIC PROBATION.” Relieved that my own hypocrisy was vindicated by a student-biased plagiarism policy, I resolved to never again deal with the Academic Misconduct board. From then on, if I ever caught a student teaching, I’d do everything within my power to make the student fail, and fail miserably, through my own glorious powers of grading.
But back to the issue at hand here. How did I reconcile my semester-long plagiarism “crackdown” with my side gig? With ease in the end… Aside from the whole education being a commodity point that I touched on in an earlier post (thanks for the hate mail, babe), I kind of figured out that if someone was clever/insidious enough to cheat without getting busted, they actually did deserve their pass. A lot goes in to busting a cheater; writing the fucking report itself can take upwards of 4-6 hours. What’s the goddamn point when the punishment is ACADEMIC PROBATION? So, have your essay written by a professional, oh my dear international engineering student who can build a bridge, but can’t write a coherent sentence in English! When your professor asks you how you wrote the piece, reply “Yes I did. Thank you. Have a nice day.” Your school is selling you out. If you’re buying when the market’s hot, make your life simpler, and just buy your goddamn papers. I can’t feel nothing but the winds blowing any more. I pay special and extra attention to those of my students who show promise, and might want to go to grad school. For the rest of them, pass or fail, just don’t be obvious in getting your A/B/C/D/F. And don’t fuck me over.