michigan-state-university-scandal
by tpsdave, used under CCO 1.0, via pixabay.com

In August Sharif Shakrani, the professor of measurement and quantitative methods at Michigan State University, made a report on public education. He wrote an article for the chain of Michigan publications, the Booth Newspapers. He suggested a great cost-saving program in it. Shakrani was convinced that Michigan could consolidate a lot of public schools, thus save about $ 612 million. That was highly publicised and it evoked a big interest in society until very soon, when the cheating was revealed. Although this teacher ‘s plagiarism case is not the only one, it is important to dig into details.

Measures Taken to Deal with Mr. Shakrani’s Paper

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy is a think tank and after they analyzed Sharif’s article, they came to a conclusion that it contained some plagiarized parts. The Senior Director of Communications at Michigan State University, Michael Jahr, a research integrity officer, was surprised of the think tank plagiarism research outcomes. He promised to review a complaint and settle Michigan State University scandal. Another university representative, James Pivarnik, explained that they will review Shakrani’s work, but the final resume on that report will be finished in a year due to a multi-step process.

The Mackinac center showed high interest in Shakrani’s report analysis. Soon, they discovered that the report had similarities with a previous study in 2007. So, Mr. Shakrani copied some information, about 800 words from a report of the Syracuse university without giving credit.

So, Mr. Pivarnik commented on that saying he will issue a finding regarding Sharif Shakrani’s article in case he finds plagiarism in it.

Double Standards in Plagiarism Control

The “secret” of the case is that in a month, after plagiarism was revealed, the school changed Shakrani’s article and added a missing quotation. Usually, when students have some plagiarized parts in their work, a teacher may give a failing grade. When plagiarism was found in a professor’s paper, it took much more time to settle things. It appeared that there was kind of an unfair approach (double standard) in plagiarism control that depended on a person whether it was a student or a teacher who plagiarized. When the associate director of judicial affairs at Michigan University, Rick Shafe was contacted in order to make things clear about measures that could be taken to the students and teachers who plagiarize, he didn’t answer anything.

At the same time, Jonathan Bailey, a plagiarism consultant at Plagiarism Today in New Orleans, said, “The reason we see this double standard, these schools are much more intimidated going up against their staff than their students.  … With a professor, it’s much rarer and much more scandalous and embarrasses the school in a much grander way. There is a lot more feet dragging.”

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