Just When She Thought She Was Out…

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Last night, Gawker posted about a strange petition circulating in the crowd at the J-School’s graduation ceremonies. The petition attacked professor Samuel Freedman (pictured at right, from his Columbia page) for giving a student an incomplete grade, preventing the student from graduating. The specifics behind the incomplete grade, though, were unclear, until the student’s original complaint surfaced this morning.

Apparently, the situation is all a big content-sharing mixup. The student, Erin Siegal, says that she had had an arrangement with her thesis adviser and Freedman to use an excerpt from her work for Freedman’s book seminar as her Master’s thesis. However, her adviser urged Siegal to turn in her whole body of work (16,000 words), leading Freedman to give her an incomplete. As of now, it’s still unclear if Siegal will be allowed to graduate, but hey, we’re sure that she can dig around in the couch cushions for another semester’s tuition.

Ethics, teary students, and smarmy professors – what’s not to love? You can check out the full letters over at Gawker. 

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  1. dbag

    hey bwog, this post is irrelevant. Not cc or seas? I don't care what it says, but I do care enough to write a post complaining about it.

  2. That guy

    looks smarmy and slightly evil. Not to mention his eyebrows are doing something alarming. But I won't judge based on looks.

  3. Seriously guys

    Calm the rich down. I thought this post was interesting and very appropriate for a Columbia blog. You don't? Well stfu and scroll down, it's free content for fuck's sake.

  4. pro-prof

    Submitting the exact same assignment for two classes is asking for failure.

    • ...

      sounds like the guy is a hardass and is known for being so. all the more reason to not play it fast and loose with the rules (or at least to be very careful).

      we were told at orientation that submitting the same work for two instructors is considered a form of plagiarism. if i had a valid reason to do so, i would make sure my exact plans were confirmed as ok by the course staff in writing/email.

      • hmmm

        I was thinking precisely about the plagiarism argument when I first read the caption. On the other hand, the fact that an excerpt from the originally submitted work-- namely, that which was submitted for the seminar in question-- was substantial enough to possibly qualify for a master's thesis might very well qualify this as a special case. And in any case, the student claims she had the approval of the professor. That, I would think, is the essential point. But only he and her, and perhaps a small number of other people, know the true story.

      • hmm

        It's plagiarism without professor approval. It seems like she told the professors that she would be sharing content between the 2 classes, but didn't specify precisely what content/how much content. I think in this case it's ambiguous. I don't think she was trying to conceal anything. Maybe the best thing would be to either lower the grade (but not fail her) or require her to add some original content to the paper (or rewrite a section of the paper) so that it would have some original content (which it seems like the Professor had expected).

  5. wtf

    calm the rich down

    written on my iphone


    the word is advisor, not adviser!

  7. no more  

    senior wisdom?

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