An admirable reaction to plagiarism
Notorious Ph.D. is, like many professors, tasked to teach a 100-level survey course. Not everyone taking such an intro general education course is particularly interested in the subject matter [though, geez, I managed to find gen. ed. courses I was genuinely interested in--anthropology, Latin, drama, medieval lit., art history--and if you're honestly interested in learning, I expect you'd be able to find the value in virtually gen. ed. course]. This lack of interest can lead to students taking shortcuts. Like plagiarizing papers. That made Notorious Ph.D. angry. You wouldn't like her when she's angry.
More than half of the submitted paper was plagiarized, and, as her syllabus states, the punishment for plagiarism is an F for the course. Not for the assignment. For the course. When the consequences are that severe, it can be difficult to maintain the resolve to implement them. But in her letter to the plagiarist, she explains why she will not commute this sentence:
Why am I being such a hardass? Why, when it would be so much easier to just give you a zero on the paper and let you fail under your own power (and you would, trust me -- I've seen your grades). The newspapers every day tell me what happens when people put self-interest over ethics. I may be forced to bail these fuckers out, but I will not be complicit in raising another generation to take their place. And dear plagiarist, that's just what I'd be doing if I let this slide.
So, if anything, blame me for being an idealist. Hell, you can even accuse me of taking out my rage at the big swindlers on a little one. You might be right about that last bit, and the rectitude of my behavior in that regard is certainly open to debate. But I hope that you might save a little, tiny bit of room to acknowledge your own culpability, and resolve to do better from here on. Yes, I actually hope that will happen. Because, believe it or not, this is not...