Cheaters. What would you do?

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ClubberLang

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Re: Cheaters. What would you do?

Postby ClubberLang » Tue Mar 05, 2019 11:48 am

cavalier1138 wrote:
acr wrote:You seem weirdly aggressive toward people who don't agree with the idea of ratting out fellow classmates and human beings. Bad experience?


Nope. Just a halfway-decent human being who doesn't like to see assholes win. I know, weird, right?

ClubberLang wrote:You might be getting some support in this echo chamber, but your viewpoint is objectively bizarre


Nah. Try again.


That's how I interpreted your viewpoint. It is weird, and it certainly tends more toward the asshole side than the "halfway-decent human being" side.

nixy

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Re: Cheaters. What would you do?

Postby nixy » Tue Mar 05, 2019 11:51 am

Look, I already said that under these circumstances/this honor code I don’t know if I would report. But it’s not bizarre to believe that you should report wrongdoing (as evidenced by the fact that MANY schools - and not just law schools - have honor codes requiring you to report. Where do you think all those “bizarre” honor codes come from?). And again, the cheaters are definitely assholes in this scenario.

OP, probably the only thing you can take away from this is that there are strongly held opinions on both sides, so there is no one clear right or wrong answer.

cavalier1138

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Re: Cheaters. What would you do?

Postby cavalier1138 » Tue Mar 05, 2019 12:14 pm

I'm genuinely curious to know where some people here would draw the line. Do you report your coworker for embezzling funds? What if it's just a little bit? What about someone lying under oath in a major hearing?

I assume that we all agree reporting violent acts is appropriate. I'm just wondering why people dig in their heels so much when it comes to reporting blatantly unethical behavior. Unless you're engaged in it, why would you feel like the people doing these things need your protection?

QContinuum

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Re: Cheaters. What would you do?

Postby QContinuum » Tue Mar 05, 2019 12:43 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:I assume that we all agree reporting violent acts is appropriate. I'm just wondering why people dig in their heels so much when it comes to reporting blatantly unethical behavior.

I'm not anywhere near as confident as you are in making that assumption, cavalier. The logic used here to argue against reporting unethical behavior is exactly the same logic often employed to argue against reporting students who sexually assault their peers. I think it relies on a viewpoint that certain wrongs - academic dishonesty or sexual assault - aren't "serious" enough to "ruin" the perpetrator's life over. I assume everyone would agree that someone who shot or knifed a fellow student should be reported.

ClubberLang

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Re: Cheaters. What would you do?

Postby ClubberLang » Tue Mar 05, 2019 1:19 pm

QContinuum wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:I assume that we all agree reporting violent acts is appropriate. I'm just wondering why people dig in their heels so much when it comes to reporting blatantly unethical behavior.

I'm not anywhere near as confident as you are in making that assumption, cavalier. The logic used here to argue against reporting unethical behavior is [b]exactly the same logic often employed to argue against reporting students who sexually assault their peers.[/b] I think it relies on a viewpoint that certain wrongs - academic dishonesty or sexual assault - aren't "serious" enough to "ruin" the perpetrator's life over. I assume everyone would agree that someone who shot or knifed a fellow student should be reported.


A bit ironic that you'd use yet another red herring to criticize logic, no?

This has nothing to do with sexual assault. The debate involves tattling on a classmate with weak evidence of trifling academic dishonesty. But I guess anyone who disagrees condones sexual assault and wants to end pro bono.

cavalier1138

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Re: Cheaters. What would you do?

Postby cavalier1138 » Tue Mar 05, 2019 1:27 pm

ClubberLang wrote:This has nothing to do with sexual assault. The debate involves tattling on a classmate with weak evidence of trifling academic dishonesty. But I guess anyone who disagrees condones sexual assault and wants to end pro bono.


What wouldn't be "trifling" academic dishonesty? Most schools only have a single graded legal writing assignment in the spring semester. Would you say the same thing if a group of students had cheated on a take-home exam?

ClubberLang

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Re: Cheaters. What would you do?

Postby ClubberLang » Tue Mar 05, 2019 1:41 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:
ClubberLang wrote:This has nothing to do with sexual assault. The debate involves tattling on a classmate with weak evidence of trifling academic dishonesty. But I guess anyone who disagrees condones sexual assault and wants to end pro bono.


What wouldn't be "trifling" academic dishonesty? Most schools only have a single graded legal writing assignment in the spring semester. Would you say the same thing if a group of students had cheated on a take-home exam?


I wouldn't consider it trifling if someone else wrote the paper. Personally I don't know what I'd do if aware of something like that.

QContinuum

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Re: Cheaters. What would you do?

Postby QContinuum » Tue Mar 05, 2019 1:59 pm

ClubberLang wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:
ClubberLang wrote:This has nothing to do with sexual assault. The debate involves tattling on a classmate with weak evidence of trifling academic dishonesty. But I guess anyone who disagrees condones sexual assault and wants to end pro bono.


What wouldn't be "trifling" academic dishonesty? Most schools only have a single graded legal writing assignment in the spring semester. Would you say the same thing if a group of students had cheated on a take-home exam?


I wouldn't consider it trifling if someone else wrote the paper. Personally I don't know what I'd do if aware of something like that.

But why would it have to be the whole paper? Do you think it's "trifling" if someone writes half the paper and hires (or persuades) someone else to ghostwrite the other half? What about getting someone to "edit" a take-home exam - also "trifling"?

And even for writing the whole paper - which you concede would be serious academic dishonesty - you still won't agree that that conduct ought to be reported. That's extremely alarming and frankly goes back to the point of: Where do you draw the line? Does it have to involve physical violence for you to be comfortable "tattling" on a classmate?

ClubberLang wrote:A bit ironic that you'd use yet another red herring to criticize logic, no?

It's called testing your logic. Courts do it all the time when lawyers propose a test: Throw hypos at the test to see if the test would yield an unacceptable result.

Your logic - don't "ruin" someone's life for committing wrongdoing - has no inherent limiting principle cabining it to academic dishonesty. Just as your earlier logic - about not doing anything if you don't have a duty to do it, there's no clear benefit to you, and there is nonzero risk - has no inherent limiting principle cabining it to not reporting your classmates' wrongdoing.

ClubberLang

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Re: Cheaters. What would you do?

Postby ClubberLang » Tue Mar 05, 2019 2:11 pm

I don't draw lines and haven't formed any opinions on the things that you asked about.

Since you are into line drawing, what is the most minor instance of academic dishonesty that you feel should be reported? And, are there any things under the umbrella of academic dishonesty that you would not report (e.g., improper citation)?

cavalier1138

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Re: Cheaters. What would you do?

Postby cavalier1138 » Tue Mar 05, 2019 2:18 pm

ClubberLang wrote:Since you are into line drawing, what is the most minor instance of academic dishonesty that you feel should be reported? And, are there any things under the umbrella of academic dishonesty that you would not report (e.g., improper citation)?


I'd draw the line at things that are based on incompetence rather than bad faith. Improper citations from law students are usually due to the student being lazy and/or not competent to do their job properly. That's kind of a given in law school, and there's plenty of room made for those kinds of mistakes (which can lead to employment consequences or sanctions in the real world, so it's a good thing when teachers are able to course-correct those students in an academic setting).

I wouldn't really qualify that as "academic dishonesty," though, because of the intent behind the act. You can accidentally cite to a case for a bad proposition; I've seen practitioners submit documents to the court with similar errors. It's bad lawyering, but it's not done maliciously. You can't accidentally plagiarize a paper or accidentally ask your tutor to edit your work for you.

nixy

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Re: Cheaters. What would you do?

Postby nixy » Tue Mar 05, 2019 2:19 pm

You also wouldn’t ever need to report improper citation because it would be in the paper for the grader to see.

Really then this is a disagreement that these circumstances are cheating, not that cheating shouldn't be reported.

QContinuum

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Re: Cheaters. What would you do?

Postby QContinuum » Tue Mar 05, 2019 2:26 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:
ClubberLang wrote:Since you are into line drawing, what is the most minor instance of academic dishonesty that you feel should be reported? And, are there any things under the umbrella of academic dishonesty that you would not report (e.g., improper citation)?


I'd draw the line at things that are based on incompetence rather than bad faith. Improper citations from law students are usually due to the student being lazy and/or not competent to do their job properly. That's kind of a given in law school, and there's plenty of room made for those kinds of mistakes (which can lead to employment consequences or sanctions in the real world, so it's a good thing when teachers are able to course-correct those students in an academic setting).

I wouldn't really qualify that as "academic dishonesty," though, because of the intent behind the act. You can accidentally cite to a case for a bad proposition; I've seen practitioners submit documents to the court with similar errors. It's bad lawyering, but it's not done maliciously. You can't accidentally plagiarize a paper or accidentally ask your tutor to edit your work for you.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I thought Clubber was referring to "improper citation" of the plagiarism variety - e.g., copying a paragraph wholesale from someone else, but not citing the source. That certainly ought to be reported, IMO, because it's clear bad faith and it wouldn't be facially detectable by the grader (who'd operate under the assumption that the student had written the plagiarized material themselves). There's really no substantive distinction for purposes of this analysis between plagiarizing from someone else and getting someone else to write your paper for you.

ClubberLang wrote:I don't draw lines and haven't formed any opinions on the things that you asked about.

Nice dodge. I take it you're retreating from your initial strong opinion about never reporting academic dishonesty to your current "I have no opinion" blank slate?

nixy

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Re: Cheaters. What would you do?

Postby nixy » Tue Mar 05, 2019 2:46 pm

Eh, it’s generally on the grader to identify plagiarism even under those circumstances. Although yes, if you knew that someone had copied material and then submitted it, that should probably be reported as well (it just seems less likely that a third party would know about that kind of cheating than some of the other kinds).

QContinuum

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Re: Cheaters. What would you do?

Postby QContinuum » Tue Mar 05, 2019 4:20 pm

nixy wrote:Eh, it’s generally on the grader to identify plagiarism even under those circumstances. Although yes, if you knew that someone had copied material and then submitted it, that should probably be reported as well (it just seems less likely that a third party would know about that kind of cheating than some of the other kinds).

I actually don't think graders should have a duty to conduct extensive searches to uncover potential plagiarism. It's like with take-home exams: We don't outfit students with body cams to ensure they aren't secretly working together or hiring someone else to write the exam for them. We take them at their word that they are abiding by the applicable exam rules.

I agree that it's unlikely that a third party would become aware of plagiarism, but it seems to me at least equally unlikely that a third party would become aware of someone hiring an outside editor to revise their paper - and yet, that's what's described in the OP. Just as criminals are sometimes dumb, cheaters are also sometimes dumb.

ghostoftraynor

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Re: Cheaters. What would you do?

Postby ghostoftraynor » Thu Mar 07, 2019 12:54 am

Weird thread. If the allegations are true, it's pretty shitty of those law students. I know I would have never done anything like that.

That said, I can't imagine reporting someone over something like this and getting them expelled. Having an editor edit a clr paper is a lot different than committing assault or something like that.

In every instance of justice, people have discretion. The victim can not report. The police can not arrest. The prosecutor can not prosecute. The judge/jury (especially) can not convict.

If you are decently sure of the act and feel the people responsible should face the likely punishment, then go for it. Otherwise, let it be. Certainly don't be surprised though if people think you overreacted.

ken01

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Re: Cheaters. What would you do?

Postby ken01 » Thu Mar 07, 2019 12:29 pm

Report, obviously. This is a no brainer. As an attorney it's likely your bar would have ethical duty to report requirements.

Vianco

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Re: Cheaters. What would you do?

Postby Vianco » Tue Mar 12, 2019 7:07 pm


sacagawea

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Re: Cheaters. What would you do?

Postby sacagawea » Tue Mar 12, 2019 9:03 pm

Dr Disrespect wrote:Students in my section collaborated on their memos assignments. Pretty sure one of them hired an editor, too. I'm typically not the competitive type, but in a T15 can I afford not mentioning this to someone? I'm pretty irked. Just looking to feel everyone's temperature on this. Thanks.

What are you snitching for? Because students “collaborated” and it was against the rules? I’d laugh at you if this class was pass-fail. I’d ask why you weren’t collaborating if it wasn’t.

cavalier1138

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Re: Cheaters. What would you do?

Postby cavalier1138 » Wed Mar 13, 2019 1:23 pm

sacagawea wrote:What are you snitching for? Because students “collaborated” and it was against the rules? I’d laugh at you if this class was pass-fail. I’d ask why you weren’t collaborating if it wasn’t.


It's distressing that this many lawyers/future lawyers think hard-line rules are suggestions.

Bingo_Bongo

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Re: Cheaters. What would you do?

Postby Bingo_Bongo » Wed Mar 13, 2019 4:52 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:
acr wrote:Don't report. Don't be a rat.


See generally Professional Ethics: The Crips and Bloods Method.


I just spat out my coffee. I'll be using that one.

Honestly, I have mixed feelings about the facts OP laid out. I think my decision would turn on what the professor's policy was.

Is collaboration allowed? If so, what exactly does "editing" mean? Is it merely somebody geeking their paper for typos? Or does "editing" mean they're going to rewrite the paper substantially? Two very different things. But both could be violations depending on class policy.

If the professor said "no outside help", or that's the default school policy, then yeah, I'd report it and not think twice. It's clearly cheating. It's not fair to OP, and it's not fair to OP's classmates who are putting in the work and trying to do the right thing. If the class is curved, things like this can literally be the difference in landing an SA position or not at OCI next fall.

But, if it's acceptable to seek outside help (as it is in sometimes is), obviously that is a very different situation. In my writing class, we were actually encouraged to talk to student "academic fellows" for advice on our papers. In a situation like that, outside help isn't barred, but the whole "editing" thing seems suspicious. Again, what is it? Fixing typos, or rewriting the paper?

If there's any question, I'd probably just e-mail the professor and ask him/her what the policy is. If the students violated it, I would report it.

And for what it's worth, when I was in law school there was one major honor code violation that occurred that everybody knew about, and it involved students cheating on take home exams. To this day everybody still knows the names of the students who cheated, and I'm guessing most don't think too highly of them. I don't think hardly anybody knows who "ratted" on them, and even if we did know, I'd probably buy that person a beer. Believe me, the cheaters reputations will sink way worse than anyone who informs on them. Unless, of course, you're in a criminal street gang like a bunch of the people on here want to pretend they are (even though we all know literally everyone on here is a complete nerd and as about as far from hood as you can get).

Gilamath

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Re: Cheaters. What would you do?

Postby Gilamath » Wed Mar 20, 2019 5:03 pm

Pretty late to the party. It seems pretty obvious that OP should send in an anonymous letter at least. Just to be clear, that's not the same as "tattling" or "snitching", both of which imply that OP would be going to someone in charge to fight their battles for them. This isn't Billy knocking down Sally's Lego tower. Let's be real, the reason folks are so happy to cheat is that they's confident that most (or at least some) of the class isn't cheating, and they're taking advantage of that for their personal gain and everyone else's detriment. If it's an ethical question, clearly OP's duty is to report.

If we don't care about the ethics and want to focus on other stuff, though, it becomes an even simpler problem. If the goal is just to stay in everyone's good graces, then only report if their cheating is obvious and noticeable enough that other students are mad about it. If it's short-run gain, I'm sure OP could get ahead themselves if they promise not to report the cheaters in exchange for getting in on some of that cheaty, cheaty benefit themselves. If OP just wants to be as happy as possible, they could always quit law school and open up a cupcake shop.

toast and bananas

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Re: Cheaters. What would you do?

Postby toast and bananas » Thu Mar 21, 2019 5:35 pm

Gilamath wrote: If OP just wants to be as happy as possible, they could always quit law school and open up a cupcake shop.


The cupcake game is cutthroat af tho..

FND

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Re: Cheaters. What would you do?

Postby FND » Mon Mar 25, 2019 2:13 pm

If you have any real proof, report it. It might piss off some classmates, but it's a great lesson to learn. Rule 8.3 of the MRPC requires reporting of misconduct among attorneys. In my professional network, the topic of reporting misconduct comes up every so often, and it always ends the same - if you have proof, report it and let the disciplinary commission decide what to do.

On the other hand, if you don't have any hard proof, I like the suggestion someone else made to slip an anonymous note under the professor's door. In the real world, most ethics committees won't even look at it, but, you've done your duty by reporting it. Nowhere in Rule 8.3 does it say you need to attach your name to the report. Likewise, if your professor sees the unsubstantiated allegation and decides not to investigate. that's his/her prerogative.



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