Senator busted for plagiarizing Master Thesis

Discussion in 'Too Hot for Swamp Gas' started by gatorman_07732, Jul 24, 2014.

  1. gatorman_07732
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    gatorman_07732 Well-Known Member

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    He blames PTSD, said it was a mistake.

  2. uftaipan
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    uftaipan Well-Known Member

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    As a man with a master's degree from the Army, I can tell you where the "mistake" likely came from. Unlike civilian institutions, military graduate schools tend not to use Turnitin or similar software, which check your work against virtually all publications and term papers entered into a database. Professors at Command & General Staff College (CGSC) told me they would only use such a system if they already suspected plagairism, instead of using it every instance in contrast to my experience with graduate work at the University of Oklahoma. Those War College, CGSC, et al theses are public records in order to aid the research of others. All it would have taken was one person doing research on the good senator to acquire his thesis and run it through Turnitin to uncover this "mistake."
  3. wgbgator
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    wgbgator Sub-optimal Poster Premium Member

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    I think in general at the grad school level, there is a bit more of a "honor system" than in undergrad classes, which extenstively use turnitin and other plagiarism detectors. Technically speaking, even citing your own unpublished work without attribution is plagiarism according to most school's definitions. I'd often cut and paste stuff from stuff I'd written that was relevant to what I was writing, so I was technically guilty of plargiarism in grad school too, though most professors disagreed that such a practice should be considered plagiarism. What this guy did seems far more blatant, but its hard to tell whether it was an error, or he was trying to pass it off as his own.
  4. 96Gatorcise
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    96Gatorcise Well-Known Member

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    I may have given this guy a break because I believe most anything can be considered plagiarism in the 21st century, really how many ways can you write about a topic before it starts to sound like someone else? With so much of the written word being digitally recorded everything is bound to sound the same.

    But I just saw an article where he is using PTSD as a contributing factor. Ring him up, he sucks.
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  5. uftaipan
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    uftaipan Well-Known Member

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    Well, I haven't read his thesis, I don't intend to, and since he's not my senator I don't really care if he's an intellectual thief. His voters can decide what's important to them in a representative. That said, though, an honest mistake in writing a thesis is something along the lines putting a direct quote and then forgetting to footnote it. And that's not plagairism; it's just an oversight. If he used someone else's words and acted like they were his brilliant insight, then that's no mistake. The Army War College should probably rescind his Master of Strategic Studies, but then again that degree doesn't mean anything outside of the armed forces anyway.
  6. wgbgator
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    wgbgator Sub-optimal Poster Premium Member

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    Also, there's no way this was a Master's "thesis" as the OP suggests. The article says its a 14 page paper. More like a seminar paper, but even then, 14 pages is pretty short.
  7. 96Gatorcise
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    96Gatorcise Well-Known Member

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    if you open the OP link and goto the NY times article they highlighted what is considered wrong in the thesis. No need to read it you can just glance their link
  8. 96Gatorcise
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    96Gatorcise Well-Known Member

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  9. wgbgator
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    On further scrutiny, I'd have a hard time chalking this up as a simple mistake:
  10. gatorman_07732
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    gatorman_07732 Well-Known Member

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    I looked at a variety of articles and they all say Master's Thesis.

    From the NY Times link 96 just posted

    Last edited: Jul 24, 2014
  11. uftaipan
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    uftaipan Well-Known Member

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    I can explain that, too. The War College is a one-year program (for lieutenant colonels) in which the students write several long papers, orders, campaign plans, etc. What they call the capstone thesis is more along the lines of a monograph. Unlike CGSC (where the graduate program is optional and you must write a standard-length 75-125 page thesis), every student who graduates from War College earns the graduate degree. The accrediting agency considers all of the writing that goes into the program, and that's what dictates a monograph requirement vice what most people think of as a thesis.
  12. wgbgator
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    wgbgator Sub-optimal Poster Premium Member

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    Ok, that makes sense. This seemed more like a capstone class paper than a thesis (which tend to be ~100 pages at the Masters level).
  13. g8orbill
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    cheating is cheating- he should resign from office
  14. wgbgator
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    If plagiarism is a resignable offense, then Rand Paul (and a few others) should probably resign from office too.
  15. diehardgator1
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    diehardgator1 Well-Known Member

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    as Nancy Pelosi would say "You have to read it to know whats in it"
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  16. g8orbill
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    hey if they obtained a degree or it helped them get into office then yes they should-please feel free to link the evidence
  17. gatorman_07732
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    gatorman_07732 Well-Known Member

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    I'm not saying he should resign and obviously is going to have to defend this in the primaries, but I think there is a difference between plagiarizing a speech and a thesis.
  18. wgbgator
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    wgbgator Sub-optimal Poster Premium Member

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    I guess he's not getting a graded on his speech, but in either case, you're passing off someone else's work as your own original material/thoughts without atrribution. So I guess the question is it the plagiarism that is the "real" issue or the percieved stakes of the plagiarism? I.e. is it the dishonesty, or the level of or gain from the dishonesty?
  19. 92gator
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    Meh....he just needs to own it, offer a [faux] contrite apology, and all will be forgotten.

    He's a Democrat.

    Dummy-rats look for excuses; the ends justify the means. To them, integrity itself, is just a word that that sounds good in speeches and sound bites. ;)
  20. gatorman_07732
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    gatorman_07732 Well-Known Member

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    In one case you're defrauding an institution in and effort to get a degree. I noticed of all the example you used it was a republican, in any case once it's pointed out then it's up to the voters to hold that person accountable. I suspect that's what's going to happen with this senator.

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