Sigh... Harvard "Cheating Scandal"

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untar614
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Re: Sigh... Harvard "Cheating Scandal"

Postby untar614 » Fri Jul 19, 2013 11:10 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
untar614 wrote:http://familiesforhonor.com/
just one example

One school isn't evidence that there are significant numbers of people out there being penalized unfairly. UVA's system is pretty uncommon.


depends what you mean by 'significant'. Happens to a good number of people at UVA alone. I'm not saying it's anywhere near as big of an issue at most places compared to UVA, but I was simply trying to demonstrate that it is a real issue.

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Samara
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Re: Sigh... Harvard "Cheating Scandal"

Postby Samara » Fri Jul 19, 2013 11:33 pm

untar614 wrote:http://familiesforhonor.com/
just one example

Just one extreme example that is not at all a representative sample.

They claim UVa's policy is unconstitutional. LOL

You are not helping your case, bro.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Sigh... Harvard "Cheating Scandal"

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Jul 19, 2013 11:36 pm

untar614 wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:
untar614 wrote:http://familiesforhonor.com/
just one example

One school isn't evidence that there are significant numbers of people out there being penalized unfairly. UVA's system is pretty uncommon.


depends what you mean by 'significant'. Happens to a good number of people at UVA alone. I'm not saying it's anywhere near as big of an issue at most places compared to UVA, but I was simply trying to demonstrate that it is a real issue.

I'm talking about the entire higher educational system in the US (because that's the context adcomms will have), so no, even a good number of people at UVA is not a significant number.

I do think a single sanction system could be pretty unreasonable. But no, that website's not doing you any favors.

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untar614
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Re: Sigh... Harvard "Cheating Scandal"

Postby untar614 » Fri Jul 19, 2013 11:37 pm

Samara wrote:
untar614 wrote:http://familiesforhonor.com/
just one example

Just one extreme example that is not at all a representative sample.

They claim UVa's policy is unconstitutional. LOL

You are not helping your case, bro.


Yeah, some of the claims on the site are a bit ridiculous, but read my previous post.

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untar614
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Re: Sigh... Harvard "Cheating Scandal"

Postby untar614 » Fri Jul 19, 2013 11:39 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
untar614 wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:
untar614 wrote:http://familiesforhonor.com/
just one example

One school isn't evidence that there are significant numbers of people out there being penalized unfairly. UVA's system is pretty uncommon.


depends what you mean by 'significant'. Happens to a good number of people at UVA alone. I'm not saying it's anywhere near as big of an issue at most places compared to UVA, but I was simply trying to demonstrate that it is a real issue.

I'm talking about the entire higher educational system in the US (because that's the context adcomms will have), so no, even a good number of people at UVA is not a significant number.

I do think a single sanction system could be pretty unreasonable. But no, that website's not doing you any favors.

So because you don't feel it's common enough on a proportional level, then if anyone is falsely accused of academic dishonesty, then fuck them?

And yes, again, I admit some of the stuff on that site is a bit off. The only point there was to make a point that it does happen. Nothing more.

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Samara
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Re: Sigh... Harvard "Cheating Scandal"

Postby Samara » Fri Jul 19, 2013 11:43 pm

I'm sure it happens. The criminal justice system gets cases wrong all the time. No system is perfect.

But I don't see any evidence that there are enough wrong "convictions" to warrant a reversal of the presumption that the person was culpable.

And to answer the above post: Yup. Tough shit. Life is unfair.

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untar614
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Re: Sigh... Harvard "Cheating Scandal"

Postby untar614 » Fri Jul 19, 2013 11:47 pm

Samara wrote:I'm sure it happens. The criminal justice system gets cases wrong all the time. No system is perfect.

But I don't see any evidence that there are enough wrong "convictions" to warrant a reversal of the presumption that the person was culpable.

That's not quite the issue I have with it. It's that we make it unacceptable for someone to maintain their claim of innocence.
And to answer the above post: Yup. Tough shit. Life is unfair.

So let's just further the unfairness?

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Samara
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Re: Sigh... Harvard "Cheating Scandal"

Postby Samara » Fri Jul 19, 2013 11:51 pm

untar614 wrote:
Samara wrote:I'm sure it happens. The criminal justice system gets cases wrong all the time. No system is perfect.

But I don't see any evidence that there are enough wrong "convictions" to warrant a reversal of the presumption that the person was culpable.

That's not quite the issue I have with it. It's that we make it unacceptable for someone to maintain their claim of innocence.
And to answer the above post: Yup. Tough shit. Life is unfair.

So let's just further the unfairness?

Yes. Otherwise there is no penalty for cheating because everyone would claim innocence. Adcomms can't judge, so they have to take the judgment of the school at face value.

curiousnyc
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Re: Sigh... Harvard "Cheating Scandal"

Postby curiousnyc » Fri Jul 19, 2013 11:55 pm

Check with you House Law School tutor/advisor. And your House Dean, who writes a summary rec for law school apps (or used to); she/he will no doubt have this information, and as across the lake suggests, they will most likely know precisely what they will be saying about each kind of cheating punishment

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Sigh... Harvard "Cheating Scandal"

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Jul 19, 2013 11:58 pm

untar614 wrote:So because you don't feel it's common enough on a proportional level, then if anyone is falsely accused of academic dishonesty, then fuck them?

And yes, again, I admit some of the stuff on that site is a bit off.

No, not saying fuck them, just trying to provide context for adcomms' reactions to addendums about academic dishonesty issues. If there were a general perception that there are significant widespread problems with people being accused unfairly, I could see approaching an addendum differently, but since I don't think it is common on a systemic level, I don't think that perception exists, and that's what should shape how you write an addendum. Honestly, if an individual school (say UVA) is notorious for screwing people over in this context, adcomms are probably aware of those concerns.

Here's the thing, too: an addendum is only part of the application. I think the best way to address something like you're raising is to have someone else do it for you. Using the OP's situation as an example, they could have a prof at Harvard write a letter of recommendation that explains what happened in this cheating scandal and why the prof believes the penalty doesn't really fit the OP's culpability. This can be a little tricky to negotiate, but I think it's a much better solution than the OP trying to explain why it wasn't as bad as it looks.

(Full disclosure: I used to teach college and dealt with a lot of plagiarism crap, and there are a lot of students who probably did think it was unfair that they were dinged for what was blatant academic dishonesty.)

As for the "maintaining their claim of innocence" bit - this is again all about context. When you're trying to convince a school to admit you is not the time to go into this. It's kind of like how if a convicted felon is trying to get parole, it's not the time for them to maintain their claim of innocence, either. (NOT saying academic dishonesty = felony, just an analogy.)

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untar614
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Re: Sigh... Harvard "Cheating Scandal"

Postby untar614 » Sat Jul 20, 2013 12:02 am

Samara wrote:
untar614 wrote:
Samara wrote:I'm sure it happens. The criminal justice system gets cases wrong all the time. No system is perfect.

But I don't see any evidence that there are enough wrong "convictions" to warrant a reversal of the presumption that the person was culpable.

That's not quite the issue I have with it. It's that we make it unacceptable for someone to maintain their claim of innocence.
And to answer the above post: Yup. Tough shit. Life is unfair.

So let's just further the unfairness?

Samara wrote:No, not saying fuck them, just trying to provide context for adcomms' reactions to addendums about academic dishonesty issues. If there were a general perception that there are significant widespread problems with people being accused unfairly, I could see approaching an addendum differently, but since I don't think it is common on a systemic level, I don't think that perception exists, and that's what should shape how you write an addendum. Honestly, if an individual school (say UVA) is notorious for screwing people over in this context, adcomms are probably aware of those concerns.

Here's the thing, too: an addendum is only part of the application. I think the best way to address something like you're raising is to have someone else do it for you. Using the OP's situation as an example, they could have a prof at Harvard write a letter of recommendation that explains what happened in this cheating scandal and why the prof believes the penalty doesn't really fit the OP's culpability. This can be a little tricky to negotiate, but I think it's a much better solution than the OP trying to explain why it wasn't as bad as it looks.

Yes. Otherwise there is no penalty for cheating because everyone would claim innocence. Adcomms can't judge, so they have to take the judgment of the school at face value.

Then why even bother having an addendum? If we're just going to assume they're guilt of academic dishonesty, why wouldn't we assume they're just going to say whatever the adcom wants to hear, and they're "learning a valuable lesson" remarks are BS? It seems like at that point, there's no sense in deriving anything reliable of value anyway, so it makes the whole thing seem like an exercise in absurdity.


(Full disclosure: I used to teach college and dealt with a lot of plagiarism crap, and there are a lot of students who probably did think it was unfair that they were dinged for what was blatant academic dishonesty.)

Fair enough, I could see that being the case many times.

As for the "maintaining their claim of innocence" bit - this is again all about context. When you're trying to convince a school to admit you is not the time to go into this. It's kind of like how if a convicted felon is trying to get parole, it's not the time for them to maintain their claim of innocence, either. (NOT saying academic dishonesty = felony, just an analogy.)

I'm cool with the analogy as I was prepared to make a similar one regarding one of samara's points. but I think this should similarly demonstrate the absurdity of the whole thing - even if they weren't guilty, they should confess anyway.
Last edited by untar614 on Sat Jul 20, 2013 12:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Sigh... Harvard "Cheating Scandal"

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Jul 20, 2013 12:05 am

untar614 wrote:Then why even bother having an addendum? If we're just going to assume they're guilt of academic dishonesty, why wouldn't we assume they're just going to say whatever the adcom wants to hear, and they're "learning a valuable lesson" remarks are BS? It seems like at that point, there's no sense in deriving anything reliable of value anyway, so it makes the whole thing seem like an exercise in absurdity.

The point isn't to show that the applicant has learned a valuable lesson. The point is to show that the applicant knows that it's appropriate to describe the experience as having taught them a valuable lesson. Believe me, I'm sure there are plenty of people who write addenda along the lines of, "Oh, and I got expelled from my school on this trumped up charge, it was COMPLETE bullshit, that girl was TOTALLY over the age of consent."

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Re: Sigh... Harvard "Cheating Scandal"

Postby untar614 » Sat Jul 20, 2013 12:08 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:The point isn't to show that the applicant has learned a valuable lesson. The point is to show that the applicant knows that it's appropriate to describe the experience as having taught them a valuable lesson.

I'm not quite sure I follow. could you clarify that?
Believe me, I'm sure there are plenty of people who write addenda along the lines of, "Oh, and I got expelled from my school on this trumped up charge, it was COMPLETE bullshit, that girl was TOTALLY over the age of consent."

lol

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Sigh... Harvard "Cheating Scandal"

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Jul 20, 2013 12:19 am

untar614 wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:The point isn't to show that the applicant has learned a valuable lesson. The point is to show that the applicant knows that it's appropriate to describe the experience as having taught them a valuable lesson.

I'm not quite sure I follow; could you clarify that?

Law schools can never know whether the subjective parts of an application are true or not - that the candidate really did learn a valuable lesson from their past misdeeds (rather than feels screwed over), that they really do want to go into law to save the world (rather than make a lot of money), etc. etc. They're basically judging candidates on how well they present an appropriate and convincing narrative about their candidacy than hangs together, fits what they'd like to see in a candidate, and is consistent with the objective information they do have. Writing an addendum saying "I learned a valuable lesson about dishonesty" isn't really intended to prove you feel that way. It just proves that you know that in a professional setting, you should say that you learned a valuable lesson, and that you shouldn't say "the charge was TOTALLY bullshit."

(If you're a future employer, do you want to hire someone who, when they have to deal with a client over someone else's screwup, says, "I'm extremely sorry this happened, I've learned always to triple-check deadlines from now on, and it will never happen again," or someone who says, "I know we missed the deadline, and I know I'm the lead associate on this project, but John swore up and down that the deadline was NEXT week"?)

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untar614
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Re: Sigh... Harvard "Cheating Scandal"

Postby untar614 » Sat Jul 20, 2013 12:34 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
untar614 wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:The point isn't to show that the applicant has learned a valuable lesson. The point is to show that the applicant knows that it's appropriate to describe the experience as having taught them a valuable lesson.

I'm not quite sure I follow; could you clarify that?

Law schools can never know whether the subjective parts of an application are true or not - that the candidate really did learn a valuable lesson from their past misdeeds (rather than feels screwed over), that they really do want to go into law to save the world (rather than make a lot of money), etc. etc. They're basically judging candidates on how well they present an appropriate and convincing narrative about their candidacy than hangs together, fits what they'd like to see in a candidate, and is consistent with the objective information they do have. Writing an addendum saying "I learned a valuable lesson about dishonesty" isn't really intended to prove you feel that way. It just proves that you know that in a professional setting, you should say that you learned a valuable lesson, and that you shouldn't say "the charge was TOTALLY bullshit."

(If you're a future employer, do you want to hire someone who, when they have to deal with a client over someone else's screwup, says, "I'm extremely sorry this happened, I've learned always to triple-check deadlines from now on, and it will never happen again," or someone who says, "I know we missed the deadline, and I know I'm the lead associate on this project, but John swore up and down that the deadline was NEXT week"?)


Ok. That makes sense, and I can appreciate it on the job end. But it seems inappropriate to be treating an academic application as a mock PR exercise.

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Re: Sigh... Harvard "Cheating Scandal"

Postby ScottRiqui » Sat Jul 20, 2013 12:52 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:Writing an addendum saying "I learned a valuable lesson about dishonesty" isn't really intended to prove you feel that way. It just proves that you know that in a professional setting, you should say that you learned a valuable lesson, and that you shouldn't say "the charge was TOTALLY bullshit."

(If you're a future employer, do you want to hire someone who, when they have to deal with a client over someone else's screwup, says, "I'm extremely sorry this happened, I've learned always to triple-check deadlines from now on, and it will never happen again," or someone who says, "I know we missed the deadline, and I know I'm the lead associate on this project, but John swore up and down that the deadline was NEXT week"?)


I can see untar's point, if it's a case where you were were factually innocent and got railroaded. I'm thinking of something along the lines of someone sneaking a copy of an assignment off your computer and turning in some/all of it as "their" work, resulting in sanctions for both of you.

I agree with you that no one wants to hear excuses, but damn, I'd seriously have to grit my teeth while writing an "I've learned my lesson and I'm sorry" letter about a situation where I was objectively blameless. And really, how "professional" is it to roll over on your back and piss yourself like a puppy when you did nothing wrong?

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Re: Sigh... Harvard "Cheating Scandal"

Postby untar614 » Sat Jul 20, 2013 12:58 am

ScottRiqui wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:Writing an addendum saying "I learned a valuable lesson about dishonesty" isn't really intended to prove you feel that way. It just proves that you know that in a professional setting, you should say that you learned a valuable lesson, and that you shouldn't say "the charge was TOTALLY bullshit."

(If you're a future employer, do you want to hire someone who, when they have to deal with a client over someone else's screwup, says, "I'm extremely sorry this happened, I've learned always to triple-check deadlines from now on, and it will never happen again," or someone who says, "I know we missed the deadline, and I know I'm the lead associate on this project, but John swore up and down that the deadline was NEXT week"?)


I can see untar's point, if it's a case where you were were factually innocent and got railroaded. I'm thinking of something along the lines of someone sneaking a copy of an assignment off your computer and turning in some/all of it as "their" work, resulting in sanctions for both of you.

I agree with you that no one wants to hear excuses, but damn, I'd seriously have to grit my teeth while writing an "I've learned my lesson and I'm sorry" letter about a situation where I was objectively blameless. And really, how "professional" is it to roll over on your back and piss yourself like a puppy when you did nothing wrong?

thanks, I'm glad someone is able to see what I'm saying/ And something actually pretty damn similar to your example happened to a friend of mine. I don't know what the ultimate outcome of the situation is, though.

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Re: Sigh... Harvard "Cheating Scandal"

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Jul 20, 2013 1:28 am

ScottRiqui wrote:I can see untar's point, if it's a case where you were were factually innocent and got railroaded. I'm thinking of something along the lines of someone sneaking a copy of an assignment off your computer and turning in some/all of it as "their" work, resulting in sanctions for both of you.

I agree with you that no one wants to hear excuses, but damn, I'd seriously have to grit my teeth while writing an "I've learned my lesson and I'm sorry" letter about a situation where I was objectively blameless. And really, how "professional" is it to roll over on your back and piss yourself like a puppy when you did nothing wrong?

Yeah, I mean, anything can be taken to unreasonable extremes. I guess my feeling is that 1) most people who seek guidance on addenda don't fall into this category, and 2) if you have a problem with the procedures you were put through, it seems to me that the hill you want to die on is suing/seeking resolution with your school, not what you write in a LS app. And unfortunately, I think there are a lot of contexts in which you have to take the flack for something you didn't do (admittedly, the academic dishonesty thing probably leaves a blacker mark than many others) - or, conversely, if the penalty is what the penalty is and there's nothing at all you can do about it, it's professional to cut your losses and do what's going to help you move past it.

The other thing is that people here tend to be pretty risk averse and so the advice is going to be to follow the safest, least controversial course. In the end, it's up to the individual applicant to decide how much they want to be safe and how much they want to stand on a particular principle. If it something you feel that strongly about, then don't write the addendum that way - just recognize how it's likely to look to adcomms, and consider how much effect you think it's likely to have in the light of the rest of your application.

(There is also probably a really small percentage of applicants who can stay on the right side of the fine line between explaining and making excuses. But people here can't know whether various posters fall into that category, so again, you get the lowest-common-denominator safe advice.)

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ScottRiqui
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Re: Sigh... Harvard "Cheating Scandal"

Postby ScottRiqui » Sat Jul 20, 2013 1:42 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
(There is also probably a really small percentage of applicants who can stay on the right side of the fine line between explaining and making excuses. But people here can't know whether various posters fall into that category, so again, you get the lowest-common-denominator safe advice.)


This is a really good point. I could probably write a letter that has one short sentence expressing my position that the accusation was unfounded, but keeping the main thrust of the letter focused on the fact that I accepted the sanctions, moved on and have had no further run-ins with the "powers that be". But I've seen enough botched attempts to agree with you that many people aren't going to be able to do it.

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Re: Sigh... Harvard "Cheating Scandal"

Postby Rory19 » Tue Jul 23, 2013 7:45 pm

I agree with much of what has been posted above but I would also include a link/url in my addendum of news coverage of the incident. Just as background information and context.

E.g. In whatever term of my whatever year of undergrad I was placed on probation due to whatever specific language descriptor you were cited for. The incident involved multiple students and x,y,z, see January 1, 1911 US News article (link).

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Re: Sigh... Harvard "Cheating Scandal"

Postby dr123 » Tue Jul 23, 2013 7:57 pm

Families for Honor sounds like a bunch of fuckin whiners.

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Re: Sigh... Harvard "Cheating Scandal"

Postby Stinson » Tue Jul 23, 2013 8:08 pm

If you really must link to an article in the addendum, be really careful which one you choose. The students come off really bad in some, and more reasonable in others.

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Re: Sigh... Harvard "Cheating Scandal"

Postby Samara » Tue Jul 23, 2013 9:06 pm

Stinson wrote:If you really must link to an article in the addendum, be really careful which one you choose. The students come off really bad in some, and more reasonable in others.

Yeah, I wouldn't link to any article. I don't see how that can end well.




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