Thoughts on Adam Wheeler and academic fraud

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The whole Adam Wheeler and Harvard academic fraud ordeal had me thinking about the importance of early detection in these types of cases. It seems like these students often start small (plagiarizing student papers) and then move onto bigger things (Wheeler was caught when he tried to fake his Rhodes Scholarship application).

In fact, Wheeler was apparently for one semester from Bowdoin College when he was caught plagiarizing a paper in his sophomore year. He could have gone back but Wheeler instead applied to Harvard on false credentials (claiming to be from MIT) and was accepted. There, he continued faking material until he was caught.

In Wheeler's case, it seems like Bowdoin did all the right things -- suspending him for one semester. That should have been Wheeler's wake-up-call, unfortunately it wasn't.

On the other hand, I've seen cases of plagiarism at colleges (not just Yale) where the actions taken weren't as harsh -- such as just an 'F' on the paper, which is just a rap on the wrist, really. I think this only encourages students to believe that academic fraud isn't a serious issue and could encourage them to continue in that vein, only trying harder to not get caught.

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This page contains a single entry by Karen Nakamura published on June 10, 2010 5:48 AM.

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