Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

University Fires Professor Because of Blog Post

Texas A&M International University Professor Loye Young was fired for this blog post.

Mr. Young defends himself here, here, here, and here.  (Hat Tip:  Chaz Perin.)

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I teach, and this is ridiculous.

Intellectual theft can lead to seven year jail sentence in China.

Weigh this when thinking about if the professor's actions were overboard.

Posted by: beijingyank | Nov 22, 2008 5:43:58 AM

I agree with public humiliation in many cases. And as a professor I have proposed public humiliation for students found "responsible" for plagiarism when I was a member of the university judicial board.
The problems with Mr. Young's actions are due process rights and student privacy laws. Universities have processes and policies about the processes for what to do when a faculty member suspects cheating, plagiarism, etc. in classwork. If a faculty member doesn't follow the policy, they violate the due process rights of the student.
The federal government passed FERPA (aka Buckley Amendment) to protect student privacy regarding school work and other issues (see Faculty cannot post grades in the hallway that would allow someone to be able to determine who got what grade (except for their own). Thus, one cannot post on a website the names of students who have failed an assignment.

Posted by: anonymous contract lawyer | Nov 21, 2008 11:25:11 AM

Welcome to the ussa!

What a country!

Posted by: Jim | Nov 19, 2008 2:03:45 PM

This professor is taking punishment into his own hands in an offensive manner. That kind of punishment should be in the domain of university policy, not some yahoo cowboy professor. If he had gotten permission from the university before taking this drastic step, he would still have his job. There is a good reason why the university wouldn't have given him permission. It's called human decency.

Posted by: the moralist | Nov 19, 2008 12:15:12 PM

Roger-Kent: Pool

Plagiarism is stealing the ideas and work of others, it has nothing to do with your own opinions and arguments. You do not have to cite to your own opinions, but you do have to cite your sources for facts and you have to cite the opinions and work of others that are in supportive and hostile to your opinion.

Posted by: Mikey NTH | Nov 19, 2008 11:18:14 AM

I'm not surprised.
Anyone who threatens the Academic Industrial Complex will be made an example of.
Four legs good, two legs baaad! Four legs good, two legs baaad!"

Posted by: granny miller | Nov 19, 2008 7:52:07 AM

the word is "plagiarist", not "plagiarizer"

Posted by: The Proud Primate | Nov 19, 2008 6:19:38 AM

It is disappointing and saddening that this university would terminate a professor the demanded academic accountability from his students. It is shameful that proper research, writing and critical thinking skills are being devalued and preference given to private emotional responses.

I absolutely agree with Mr. Young's statement regarding source material and personal opinions. If he had asked for strictly an opinion piece citations would be unnecessary. On the other hand, he is asking for a well researched and supportable essay. In other words, if the students opinions do not follow the verifiable evidence then it would be best, considering the type of essay, for them to leave it out. Mr. Young is not saying, "You cannot have an opinion of your own". What he is saying is "your opinion should be based upon the evidence you are using for support and consequentially there should be supporting evidence, cited properly, for your opinion included within your essay".

Mr. Young was justified in his actions and it is an insult to academia and university level students to have fired him for his stance. What punishment did those students receive? I'm assuming they are no longer students considering academic crimes they committed.

Posted by: S. Ricks | Nov 19, 2008 5:56:36 AM

In a world which seems to forgive little white lies it is enlightening to witness integrity in the attempt of promoting honesty among his students with regard to the plagiarism incident . In other words the students cheated , got caught and suffered the consequences of their actions. Professor Loye Young should not have been fired but given the support of the University for setting a standard that all institutions should aspire to..

Posted by: Gerald Hodgson | Nov 19, 2008 4:57:14 AM

I work at a university that specializes in flight training. Currently we have been tasked with coming up with a new grading system because the one we currently use has been deemed detrimental to the student's self image. We have an "unsatisfactory" grade, or a "U" that we have used for years that says exactly what it means. The student's performance was unsatisfactory. Pretty straight forward. Well, in this brave new world, that type of straight talk is unacceptable. Now we are going to a system that will replace "unsatisfactory" with "practicing". How do you like those apples? This country is being dumbed down right before our eyes and anyone that says anything about it is told they're just old fashioned and not a progressive thinker. I guess by the looks of things, our government will have a lot easier time convincing dullards that a lower standard of living is a good thing as opposed to people that can actually apply critical thinking.

Welcome to the Brave New World.

Posted by: Mark | Nov 19, 2008 4:34:38 AM

modern US of A... the last original thought has left the building...

Posted by: Dr Don Stokes | Nov 19, 2008 3:42:54 AM

With regard to honesty I have no problem with what was said. I do however take issue with this statement as it is the most destructive nonsense I have heard in that it confines a mind to that of a Dictaphone: "your own opinion or thoughts about a subject is really very meaningless unless you are able to back it up with references to authoritative sources". That single statement undermines an otherwise well intended gesture. I am the authority of my own opinion and many look to others to make statements that make sense in their own words. This thereby removes a barrier as the writer demonstrates proper perspective to the reader and is more likely to connect with the reader in a meaningful way. This idea that an opinion is not valid because one is not able to find one that agrees subverts intellect and free thinking. We are inundated with false concepts and propaganda. Finding one not bedazzled by this headwind of confusion by he or she speaking, his or her own mind, in cogent and appropriate opinion is to be weighed significantly when held, generally valid, by a majority and even more so when held by a demonstrable minority.

Posted by: Roger-Kent: Pool | Nov 18, 2008 9:43:09 PM

In an era when governing bodies are not very long on honesty, it is refreshing to have a person of character insist on it uncompromisingly.

My admiration to Loye Young and his standards.

Posted by: Herb Graff | Nov 18, 2008 8:36:45 PM

Professor Young certainly appears to be correct in his analysis and actions. It is more than unfortunate that careful ethical and legal reasoning followed by appropriate action by the professor resulted in his firing and a University utterly shaming itself.

We knew better than plagiarize back at Kent State in '70. And hell, we were just 'simple' student hippies... albeit radical ones....

Posted by: Dr. Richard Welser | Nov 18, 2008 5:40:58 PM

I cannot believe you got canned for this blog entry! You should have said" "All lying and dishonesty is allowed. You might even get hired for a position at the White House should you excel at lying and dishonesty."

Pretty pathetic that someone with ethics who is out to bust liars and cheats would lose their job.

You are better off not being with a university that would condone such activities.

You are good man. Don't let kooks who encourage unethical people to stop you from doing what's right.

Posted by: Shari Peterson | Nov 18, 2008 3:14:30 PM

Sure...let's just reward dullards.

That only leads to said dullards running ENTIRE COUNTRIES INTO THE GROUND IN UNDER EIGHT YEARS.

Thanks, appeasers.

How's this: DON'T PLAGIARIZE...

Posted by: hANOVER fIST | Nov 18, 2008 2:57:08 PM

And a public humiliation of a
student caught plagarising is
a problem how? Good job Mr. Young!

Posted by: goat yoda | Nov 18, 2008 2:39:22 PM

The university thinks the prof's action in making an example of his cheating students was disproportionate to the offense.

To make an example for others, the university fires him.

How ironic.

Posted by: AMTbuff | Nov 18, 2008 1:07:10 PM