ROME, Sept 28 — A professor at Italy’s venerable University of Bologna has sparked a storm by inviting students to cheat by copying, saying they will just be following the example of some of their teachers accused of plagiarism.
Luccio Piccio, a professor of economics and politics at the university — the western world’s oldest — said he could no longer tolerate the impunity with which some of his fellow academics are treated.
“I want to announce that I will not check whether you have copied, because in all conscience I can’t ask you to respect rules which (Bologna) allows its teaching staff to violate,” he wrote in an online message.
“In effect, a system is in place which guarantees teachers’ impunity in case of plagiarism,” he added on website of the Alma Mater Studiorum university, founded in 1088.
In his message, Piccio refers to several proven cases of plagiarism implicating some of his colleagues who have gone unpunished due to what he says is an omerta, or vow of silence, at the university.
He drew a parallel between such cases and that of a female student recently suspended for three months after having been found with a smartphone and earphones during an exam.
One case he cited dates from January 2015, when an official from a major scientific institution “wrote to the head of our department pointing out that a professor had copied other authors”, Piccio wrote.
The university in that case proclaimed that it “allowed no form of plagiarism or intellectual dishonesty”, wrote Piccio, who said that despite the vow the academic involved was recently appointed to head a “well-known Bologna research institute”. — AFP