Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ohio State University Revokes PhD

Last week I came across a very interesting article which states that Ohio State University (OSU)revoked the doctoral degree from a graduate because she plagiarized in her doctoral dissertation. You can read the Courthouse News Service article here. At the bottom of the article, you can click on the icon to see the complaint of copyright infringement filed against the student in U.S. District Court.

We already know that Ohio University's (OU's) record of dealing with plagiarism is riddled with blunders, inconsistencies, and lies; so, I think it is very interesting to note the disparity of how OSU dealt with their plagiarism case compared to OU's actions over the past 6 years.

Basically, OU handled their plagiarism problems by choosing one student and two professors to scapegoat. The rest of OU's cheating students (38 according to the last count provided by OU Counsel, John Biancamano) were allowed to keep their degrees. As I reported in previous posts, OU even allowed at least one student to republish a thesis that still contains pages of blatant verbatim plagiarism; and for almost three years now, they have refused to hold accountable the student and the professors who approved the rewrite that contains plagiarism.

On the other hand, once the OSU Committee on Academic Misconduct found that the student violated the OSU Code of Student Conduct, it appears that they never considered offering the guilty student a chance to rewrite her dissertation. In fact, OSU dealt with their guilty student very harshly. One of the sanctions was to authorize the student's dissertation committee "to retroactively invalidate the approval form approving the written portion of Ms. Nixon's doctoral examination." Another sanction was to "direct Ms. Nixon to promptly return her doctoral diploma to the University Registrar."

Ohio University leaders need to learn from OSU's example, and they need to stop polluting our higher education system with unqualified professors who fraudulently obtained their teaching positions.

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