Friday, September 21, 2018

Student Loses College Degree 15 Years after Graduation Due to Plagiarism

After a master's thesis was corrected for plagiarism and a degree awarded, it was examined by a plagiarism checker years later and more plagiarism was identified leading to a professor losing his degree ("Judge Upholds University's Right to Rescind Master's Degree over Plagiarism," Calgary Herald, September 19, 2018). John Measor tried unsuccessfully to get the University of Calgary to let him keep the degree based on the fact that it had already been given to him, so he took his case to court. However, the judge sided with the university because the "power to award degrees necessarily implies the power of rescission." Justice Richard Neufeld in his decision also noted that "institutional integrity" requires a school to uphold the value of its degrees by taking back one that incorporated academic dishonesty.

Discussion Questions:
  1. Does this case change your opinion about the importance of academic integrity when you create coursework for your classes? Why or why not?
  2. Do you think the university was justified in taking back the degree years after it was given due to plagiarism by the former student? Why or why not?
  3. The news story mentions that John Measor also changed his story about the plagiarized thesis during the various hearings. Would you rule in his favor and let him keep the degree if he wasn't clear about what really happened? Why or why not?

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