Standardise penalties for cheats

July 9, 1999

I congratulate Gordon Pearson for stating his strongly held views against recent cases of proven plagiarism. I also pay tribute to his courage and integrity. Like many academics, I fully support his resignation as external examiner for Staffordshire University.

The examiners at Staffordshire University, by not supporting their external examiners, have shown a very limited understanding of this rampant phenomenon and the detrimental effect it has on assessment. If there are different forms of plagiarism, none can be defined as "minor".

I also fail to understand why, on a declared matter of principle, the disagreement between internal and external examiners was not referred, in the first instance, to either the academic board or the senate of the university. It seems that wisdom was not part of this "differential" equation.

E. de la Croix, Academic director, European Business School, London.

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