Friday, March 30, 2012

Breaker, Breaker, Copy That

Pál Schmitt, Hungarian politician in a meeting...
If you ever watch any police shows or military movies, you know the expression "Copy that". 

Well in Hungary these days, it has all new meaning. The Hungarian President's had someone blow the whistle stating he plagiarized his doctoral dissertation. I have been reading the news translated from Hungarian to English, regarding the fall out over this, but a former student, Andrea sent me this link to an article in The Economist. Click here to read it.This is an earlier picture; he is not smiling so much these days.

For gosh sakes, the man's doctorate is in physical education. It would make sense that he copied 17 pages verbatim from another person's work. We all know how jocks are about not doing academic work. Well to add insult to injury another 180 pages were 'borrowed' from the work of a Bulgarian sports historian. It makes me wonder if Mr. Schmitt's completed work was much more than 197 pages. Well, perhaps 200 when you add the title page, table of contents and acknowledgements. I guess, that last page didn't exist for obvious reasons. 

The Economist reports that the supervisory committee has stated that the blame should be placed on Mr. Schmitt's doctoral committee "who did not do their jobs properly". This is a typical reaction of pointing the finger, not realizing there are four others pointing back. Why should a student do their job properly in the first place without having to be suspect?

Semmelweis University, the institution that is now the overseer for the physical education degrees, pulled the doctorate from Mr. Schmitt. While all political parties are in agreement on one thing, Schmitt should resign, Prime Minister Orbán is allowing him to make his own decision. 

Quoting The Economist "Viktor Orbán, Hungary’s prime minister, promised last year that the era of the cosy insider was over. 'Our homeland will no longer be a country without consequences'”.  

The irony of it all is the increased security we have implemented against plagiarism at the university a year ago. If we find a student in this situation, the consequences are dire. What is the definition for hypocrisy?

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