Finals week is upon us. I have no finals, just one French essay. But given my lack of enthusiasm and motivation (it’s not that I mind writing it, it’s the fact that I have writer’s block–“l’angoisse de la page blanche”), at this point I’d rather pay someone to do it for me. I won’t. But there are people who do that apparently, and exactly a month ago, The Chronicle of Higher Education shed light on the topic..
Who…Ed Dante, pseudonym for man who’s written more than 5,000 pages about you name it–from maritime security to municipal budgeting–for someone else. He makes $66,000 a year. His clients are 1. ESL students 2. “hopelessly deficient” student and 3. the “lazy rich kid.”
What... “Of course, I know you are aware that cheating occurs. But you have no idea how deeply this kind of cheating penetrates the academic system, much less how to stop it…It is my hope that this essay will initiate such a conversation. As for me, I’m planning to retire. I’m tired of helping you make your students look competent.” The reoccurring anecdote in his exposé is about a customer who can’t type a grammatically correct sentence to save her life. She’s having him write her graduate thesis. On business ethics.
Why...do these companies who supply the essays (and the ghost writers) get away with it and why are students resorting to third parties for classwork? Why are they cheating, and why are we letting them cheat? Is it the education system or capitalism? Why?
As Dante writes, “You know what’s never happened? I’ve never had a client complain that he’d been expelled from school, that the originality of his work had been questioned, that some disciplinary action had been taken. As far as I know, not one of my customers has ever been caught.” It’s sad to think that this happens on a daily basis and yet, it’s continuously overlooked.
It seems to me that many people think the destination, such as landing that perfect job or getting a master’s, is ultimately more important the journey, and thus, a plagiarized paper (because you are stealing someone else’s ideas) is just a bump in the road. It’s as if life starts only after those possessions. But no, the ends do not justify the means.