Tattletale or only fair?

28 May

Do you know these stupid situations where, no matter what you do, you cannot be sure you did the right thing until everything has run its course? Rats, I am so not sure I have done the right thing… a friend of a friend asked me whether I would write him a paper for his university studies.  I offered to help him with the material and proofread the results, since German is not his native language. I also explained to him that what he was tring to accomplish could lead to him being excluded from university, and that this was the reason I was refusing. This was, however, clearly not what he had in mind, and he refused. Later I learned that he had asked other people to write him this paper. I do not know whether anyone was stupid enough to do so, and whether he was stupid enough to hand it in as his own work, BUT…

… after sitting on my thoughts for several weeks, I wrote his supervisor an e-mail. I know her, she became head of the department I was studying at about five or six years ago, and I always thought she was tough, but fair. I had to jump through the same hoops the person in question is faced with now, and I had to do it all by myself. At the time I thought most of the work was one giant waste of time, but I did it, because the rules said I had to, and I survived. Not only did I survive, I also later realized these papers and research had taught me valuable lessons to use in real life (for example while translating medical reports).

I strongly believe in achieving your goals on your own, in being fair and working hard. I also believe that people tend to make mistakes, especially younger people who think they have found the perfect way to cheat the system.

Now, I am sure he is not the only one to try and cheat the system, and I do not have any evidence that he succeeded in finding someone to do his boring work for him. Still, I explained everything I know about the situation to his supervisor, clearly stating that I do not know whether he actually handed in plagiarized work, in an e-mail and hit “send” before I could reconsider. Now I am hoping I did the right thing, after all this could end his academic career…

What would you have done in my place?

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One Response to “Tattletale or only fair?”

  1. magalyguerrero May 30, 2014 at 1:50 pm #

    I’m not completely sure what I have done… I’ve always felt a special kind of disdain for people who cheat. If I work like a crazy person, so should they. If I was very close to his supervisor, I might have suggested she keep an eye on him. Must times, when it comes to these things, the educators already know who is not turning in their own work.

    I can’t believe people still trying to do this kind of stuff. The nerve.

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