Academic dishonesty should not be tolerated, especially when it’s faculty
When professors go over syllabi at the beginning of the semester, they always include a section about academic integrity.
Apparently that’s not enough for some people.
I’m not talking about students violating these policies; I’m talking about the two mathematics professors who violated the university’s research integrity policy, costing the university $619,489.
Earlier in the week, two independent investigators concluded that plagiarism had taken place in both the grant proposal and research materials for CONCEPT: CONnecting Content and Pedagogical Education of Pre-service Teachers, a research project funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.
In order to guarantee that CMU will continue to get grant funding from the NSF in the future, and because it was the ethical thing to do, the Board of Trustees voted to return $619,489 to the NSF.
Where the money will come from is still up for debate.
Personally, I think the professors guilty of the plagiarism should have to pay for a large portion of it. Due to privacy issues, the professors’ names have not been released. Interim University President Kathy Wilbur did say however, that one of the professors is no longer here at Central Michigan University.
If legally possible, the university should open up a civil case against these professors and try to get them to pay part of the grant money back.
So far, the university has not commented on the disciplinary actions taken against the other professor involved. The professors involved should be fired immediately. If the university decides not to fire any of the professors, they should at least have their salaries and benefits cut, with the difference going toward paying back the grant money.
I doubt the university will be able to recover the full amount from the two professors, but they should definitely not get off scot-free.
What kind of image does this send to our students? “If you plagiarize, we may give you a failing grade in the course but, if one of our professors plagiarizes, we’ll cover the $619,489 that they essentially stole from the NSF.”
These two professors ought to be ashamed of themselves. They knew better. I have never seen a syllabus that doesn’t include the academic integrity policy in it, so how could these two professors read off that policy and tell students not to plagiarize while they themselves were doing it?
I commend the Board of Trustees for doing the right thing. It was the smart thing to do in order to secure future grant money.
At a time when the university is struggling financially, we cannot afford to throw away this much money because of two professors’ stupidity. The professors need to be held accountable and need to pay for a substantial amount of the grant.
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