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Adventures in Macedonia (Part IV) June 17, 2013

Posted by etschneider in Students, Teaching.
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Before concluding, here is the last part of the interview given to Miss Miroslava Simonevska. Please note that for the latest news, one would have to wait the conclusion.

And keep in mind that the following has been written in late 2011.

As for now, I see two more posts about this ethic/judicial case: one will be the current situation in 2013, and the last one would be the conclusion, i.e. what would happen at the court.

Miroslava Simonovska (MS): Explain what happened during the meetings with the government officials. Whom did you meet? What did they say?

Etienne Schneider (ES): There were two meetings with the Macedonian officials. The first one I have already described. As for the second one, people all over the world may have watched that very meeting in the videos posted on YouTube the next day (which, incidentally, were recorded without the knowledge or permission of my colleagues and me). In addition to the two foreign professors, Minister Ivanovski and Minister Kralev (2013-05-28: he was appointed as advisor for educational issues to the Macedonian’s Prime Minister’s cabinet) were both present and the other American professor was also present via Skype. They asked us to explain the case, what happened to the threatening letters sent to the Teaching Assistants by the University administration, and my dismissal. They looked amazed and surprised.
We then showed them the pièce de résistance: several examples of the flagrant and repeated plagiarism committed by the Rector and Vice-Rector (and other authors). As presented in the videos, the Rector and Vice-Rector got their positions and/or promotions based, at least partly, on the plagiarized work of other scientists.
To be absolutely clear, plagiarism is “the unacknowledged use of someone else’s work. The word comes from a Latin word for ‘kidnapping’ and plagiarism is indeed the stealing of something engendered by someone else.” (S. Barnet & H. Bedau, Critical Thinking, Reading and Writing: A Brief Guide to Argument, 2nd Edition, Boston, Bedford, 1996.)
After seeing several indisputable proofs of plagiarism, the Ministers actually asked us if we were nonetheless ready to go back and work with the current administration. Going back would imply that we approved of everything the administration has done, including their repeated acts of plagiarism.

MS: Tell us more about the current relationship you have with UIST. Who are you suing and why?

ES: I will let my lawyer reply to this question.

MS: Please add anything you would like that you think I have forgotten to ask.

ES: Before working in Macedonia, I worked in Germany and in Malaysia. My working language is English. I don’t speak English as an Englishman: I am French and I have a French accent. But I am told that, nonetheless, my English is fluent.
Much more importantly, I am shocked and angry that, even when presented with indisputable proof of repeated and massive plagiarism, nothing is happening to punish the academicians who have committed this serious and inexcusable breach of academic ethics. In Germany and in France professors found guilty of plagiarism are forced to resign, and in America they are instantly fired. Their academic careers are over. In universities, students who plagiarize are severely reprimanded on the first violation, and immediately dismissed if repeated.
I have been told that as long as the Macedonian Minister of Education doesn’t declare something as plagiarized, then it is not plagiarism. From what Professor Bock said to me, when we discussed "that is not the rule of law, which is a solid prerequisite of a democracy. It is clear evidence of systemic corruption and cronyism in the academic community, and a severe condemnation of Macedonian government oversight of their state academic institutions."
Professor Bock also added, and anyone would agree: "Finally, it is, of course, the students who are the real victims of this sham. The intellects of the young people are surely the most valuable resource of any country. Yet it is these students whose education is being trampled, whose intellects are being exploited and abused, and whose value systems are being twisted by the self-propagating process of academic cronyism and corruption.
It is an outrage. Shame!"