Someone who calls him/herself "Caveat Emptor" left a very poignant comment to my earlier post about blatant plagiarism in an Ohio University Physics doctoral dissertation that was approved by the professor appointed as the Chair of the Academic Honesty Hearing Committee. I am hoping that the comment is read by many people, so I am re-posting it here.
"Caveat Emptor said...
This sort of contagion is just what you’d expect with rewrites, which seems to be Ohio University’s blanket approach to dealing with essentially all of its plagiarists (the number of known or suspected plagiarists is now well over fifty and still climbing but only one degree has been revoked since OU’s plagiarism scandal went public in 2005).It will eventually occur to other universities that they can protect themselves from being contaminated with OU plagiarists by simply (and tacitly) not hiring any OU Ph.D.s onto their faculties and not admitting any OU masters degree holders into their doctoral programs. After all, why should any faculty search committee (or graduate admissions committee) needlessly risk the possibility of hiring (or admitting) a plagiarist from OU when there are plenty of reputable candidates available from better schools? And whenever this happens, it will be an unspoken “plagiarism tax” unfairly borne by all honest OU alumni.So eventually the reputation and fortunes of all OU graduate degree holders will suffer as will the reputations of those schools that inadvertently hire/admit OU plagiarists because they aren’t vigilant (because of their well-intended but misplaced trust in the academic integrity of OU). In concert with all this, graduate enrollment at OU will likely fall and/or the quality of its graduate student intake will worsen and this will fuel retrenchment in graduate study there.The most effective and direct way to disrupt this pernicious hiring/admissions spiral is for OU to revoke the degrees it has mistakenly awarded. But so long as OU can keep its plagiarism problem quiet, it can continue to surreptitiously propagate its “repaired” (rewritten) ersatz (inferior) masters and Ph.D. degree graduates into higher education. The longer this weary and disturbing hiring/admissions syndrome continues, the more easily the perception of OU as a diploma mill will come to mind. And as OU’s plagiarists infect other universities, plagiarism will likely expand into a repeating cycle of pollution beyond OU.At the end of the day, as a result of OU’s misguided plagiarism rewrite approach to dealing with its plagiarists, the biggest loser will be OU itself and the rest of higher education will be diminished as well."
Caveat Emptor very nicely explains many of the issues that arise when university leaders start creating exceptions to the most basic rules of academia. Eventually more and more people are going to realize that Ohio University will award advanced graduate degrees to anyone, even blatant cheaters. Consequently, the value and credibility of an honest degree continues to diminish, and no one will know who they can trust. Why would a university do this? Why haven't more alumni and professors expressed outrage? Are they hiding something too? This is a huge issue. I'm going to keep trying to get answers.
Thank you Caveat Emptor for assessing the problems here with eloquence.