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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    See if these ideas make the grade

    PASS: Optics and astronomy departments at it again

    No matter what goes on around campus – scandals, budget cuts, declining standards – there are some departments that just seem to always have it together. This week, UA’s highly ranked optical sciences program teamed up with Lowell Observatory to complete a telescope that will be used by the Discovery Channel. This kind of national exposure is nothing new for optics;

    optical sciences adjunct professor Roy J. Glauber was named a Nobel laureate in 2005 for his work. The UA astronomy department was also a star (forgive the pun, please) in the news this week when UA astronomers discovered some of the first actual proof for the dark matter that scientists have always suspected composes our universe. For keeping up the UA’s good name and making the campus community proud, the College of Optical Sciences and UA Department of Astronomy get a pass.

    FAIL: Cheaters never prosper…

    Yikes. In 2005, there were 325 cases of reported plagiarism here at the UA. The actual number of plagiarists is, of course, much

    higher. There were presumably many who were never caught, as well as students whose cheating went unreported to the higher-ups by weak-willed professors. These academic scoundrels mock the aims of the university and higher education in general through their refusal to do their own work. The high incidence of this type of cheating is frankly embarrassing. Wildcats, man up and do your own work. For undermining the entire academic system, as well as depriving themselves of the chance to learn, UA plagiarists get a fail.

    PASS:…Especially not when they’ll be caught with sophisticated tools

    The UA ponied up the big bucks this week, paying $36,000 for a three-semester subscription to, an online service designed to catch plagiarism. The service requires students to submit their papers online and runs them through a sophisticated program designed to check their wording against millions of Web sites, previously submitted student work, magazines, journals and other published articles. Cheaters at this campus had better wise up and realize that a new day has come. It’s embarrassing that plagiarism at this school is at a level requiring a service like this. But for fighting hard against academic dishonesty and laziness, UA academic departments get a pass.

    FAIL:A service for your GPA?

    Associated Students of the University of Arizona Sen. Steven Gerner’s push to allow students to receive university credit for their volunteer hours is a well-meaning but ultimately misguided plan. Whatever happened to serving the community for its own good? Such a program would undoubtedly degrade into a pathway for students to opt out of a class and still earn an elective credit or two. The program also would force UA administrators to define what should count as community service, a difficult task, given that one man’s proselytizing is another’s community service. As valuable as moving sandbags or answering phones for a political candidate may be to the community, credits are awarded as milestones for academic achievement, not gold stars for good citizens. Though conceived with the best of intentions, this plan regrettably receives a fail.

    Opinions are determined by the Wildcat opinions board and written by one of its members.
    They are Nina Conrad, Lori Foley, Ryan Johnson, Ari Lerner, Nicole Santa Cruz and Matt Stone.

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