A First Person Perspective

While looking up some information today, I ran across a very interesting article on the Chronicle of Higher Education’s Web Site.

The article is written by Kim Lanegran, an assistant professor of political science at Hood College, who, some time ago, became a victim of plagiarism in one of the most vile ways possible. To make a long story short, her entire doctoral dissertation, which was submitted at the University of Florida, was copied years later, almost word for word, by a student at New School in New York City.

To make matters worse for Lanegran, the plagiarist was someone in a trusted position. She had sent him a copy of the dissertation on floppy disk after he requested to see her work on the subject. Then, after bringing the misuse to the attention of the school where the plagiarist had started working, she was treated with distrust and asked to prove the veracity of her claims, despite her dissertation predating his by years.

Dissertations aren’t book reports or essays, they’re lengthy research pieces that take years to compile, even with near full-time work. To have it copied and nearly wind up losing it simply because someone didn’t want to put forth the effort to do their own work is a mind blowing event to say the least and Lanegran does an excellent job conveying that.

In the end, the article is worth reading, even though it’s a bit old and off topic, because it provides such a deep personal account of what plagiarism does to someone emotionally. Anyone who’s never had their works taken should read this to understand what it’s like and to understand the conflicting emotions that surround it.

It’s something that shakes your faith both in humanity and in your profession, regardless of whether you’re an artist or an academic. I owe much gratitude to Lanegran for being so candid with her feelings. I think she spoke for all of us.

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