Grade A nerve 1

June 4, 2004

I am a former professor at the University of Kent at Canterbury (though not in the English department), so I may be regarded as biased against the student plagiarist who is threatening to sue it (News, May 28).

But probably no more biased than any lawyer would be, and, as I am not being paid to express it, I would at least consider it a purer form of bias.

Here is a student who was apparently willing to pass off large chunks of other people's work as his own in a consistent way over a sustained period of time, without any attempt to give due acknowledgement; a student who then blamed academics for not knowing the sum total of all human verbiage posted (perhaps in violation of copyright) in murky corners of the internet.

When finally rumbled, he attempts to find some tart of a lawyer to defend his warped views for a few quid, probably taken from the public purse. If he succeeds, he should be awarded a degree in taking the piss.

I thought that things in UK universities couldn't get worse - obviously I was wrong. Perhaps if universities returned to a state of being a bit more proactive and, in particular, more selective about whom they accept (interview the student rather than vice versa), this would not happen.

Chris Pannell
Florida

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