starving for substance

Another stupid witty title

Posted in Uncategorized by starvingsteve on February 24, 2008

So in my finance class, they’re making us do these stupid “ethics modules” (LHS colleagues, think First Class) where we have to comment on “ethical situations” and it’s supposed to make us less likely to lie to the SEC, commit acts of high treason, etc etc.

Well this week’s ethics module was about Elisa, who took the quotes off some part of her assignment and her whole group ended up with a zero on the assignment. One of the questions we were supposed to write and post on a discussion board was if her grade was “warranted.” Answers ranged from “Yes” to mine which spanned 3/4 of a page. My professor said we were all going to get credit for it as long as we did it, so I figured I’d make mine ridiculous. While I regret not using the phrase “then the terrorists have already won,” I’m sure I can squeeze it into the next assignment. Here are the questions along with my response in full. I’m posting this because I got a ton of giggles out of this.

1. Did Elisa’s team violate the student code?
2. The material in question was taken verbatim from Costco’s write up in Value Line, 2006, page 1679. What should the correct citation look like?
3. What were Elisa’s and her teammate’s responsibility with respect to insuring none of the other team member’s work was plagiarized?
4. Given the extending circumstances in the case was the instructor’s punishment of zero on the assignment warranted?

1. Elisa’s team violated the student code.

2. Last name, First name. “Costco,” ValueLine Publishing, Inc. (2006): 1679. (Date Accessed).

3. If their names are on the paper, they are responsible for whatever is in the paper. Her teammates have a responsibility to check the paper and ensure that everything written in it is to their standards of quality.

4. In cases of plagiarism such as this, the extending circumstances are not as important as the actual educational environment it took place in. This is a school. This is not the “real life” per se. These facts must also be considered. In this educational environment, it is the duty of the professors to educate, not debilitate. By hanging failure over the heads of their students, it fosters a fear of thinking and instead forces students to use established opinions as a crutch. A fear of failure should not be the reason why a student does not plagiarize, just as a fear of the death penalty should not be what causes a person to abstain from murder. While plagiarism is wrong, the punctuation used by ValueLine in the parenthetical statement was also wrong. Which is the greater crime? Should not ValueLine be held accountable for their egregious usage of the language they wrote their report in? Should they no longer be allowed use of the English language as punishment? This great nation of America was founded on the basis that “all men are created equal” (Jefferson, Thomas. “Declaration of Independence.” (1776).), yet these rules of plagiarism violate this ideal, nay, they destroy the very framework upon which this magnificent nation was built. Elisa did not cite her source, but does ValueLine? This double standard should not be allowed to continue in a beautiful country such as this.

The Massachusetts constitution includes a line almost verbatim to Thomas Jefferson’s, but that does not invalidate the entire state of Massachusetts. Massachusetts’ constitution was not given a zero by the United States government, and their framers were not labeled as failures. In his prolific “I Have a Dream” speech, Martin Luther King Jr. also used the very same line, but did not reference the source. Is his legacy made less great? Is he no longer allowed to inspire courage in the downtrodden? Abraham Lincoln is also guilty of not directly crediting the source of the line in his “Gettysburg Address.” Does this justify John Wilkes Booth, who might have merely been an overzealous anti-plagiarism advocate? I would hope that the answer to all of these questions is a resounding “no,” and therefore do not feel the punishment leveled upon Elisa is warranted. She should fight for her grade, from sea to shining sea, by any means necessary.

Note, this might actually have been funnier if you actually saw the other responses. And yes, I’m showing off here because I’m actually proud of writing this. I hate these things that are just paying lip service to moral conduct, and the plagiarism at the end was intentional.


Finding Neverland

Posted in Uncategorized by starvingsteve on February 16, 2008

Four years of rather intensive training in high school gave my writing some semblance of my own personal style. After one brutal semester of accounting classes, everything is gone. Now I’m on a mission. Fighting the soul sucking communication TAs, I’m using this as an outlet for elaborate, useless, and completely redundant sentences in an effort to keep my sanity.