This has become a controversial story. Babcock University, a Nigerian private university, recently suspended 14 students for a period of 1 year because they didn’t independently do the assignment given to them by a lecturer in an Economics class.
The assignment, which was the first for the semester, was given to a 300Level Economics class by a certain lecturer (name witheld). It involved forming a questionaire and the students were required to come up with original ideas in creating the questionaire.
However, as is common with many students, they copied the work of the very few that did the assignment. Some of the students didn’t even bother to do it. They figured out that since it wasn’t a test and it was the first in the semester, it wouldn’t count much. They wouldn’t have imagined the way things eventually played out.
The lecturer came to class afterwards to tell the students how displeased he was that the assignment wasn’t taken seriously. He then went on to announce that he had forwarded the names of the students who copied their classmates’ work to a panel called SPEAM. This particular panel deals with examination malpractice cases. After much deliberation, they usually forward their decision to the senate, then the senate would give a final judgement. Most times, they follow the decision of the panel.
This time, it was reported that the panel said the students should carry over the course, but the senate didn’t follow this decision. The chairman of the senate, Professor Kayode Makinde, who is the Vice Chancellor of the school said the offence is plagiarism, which is a serious offence, therefore the students should be punished by suspending them from school for the period of one year.
Now, many questions have been raised following the decision of the Vice Chancellor. The students who were punished were those who ‘dubbed’ the assignment. The ones who didn’t do it were not punished. Shouldn’t they have been given some consideration for even attempting to do it?
They were suspended for one year. Isn’t that punishment too severe considering it wasn’t a test or exam?
The offense was called plagiarism. How do you define plagiarism? If they had copied answers from a textbook, they wouldn’t have been punished. Now, what do we call that? Isn’t that plagiarism too?