A tipster reports, from the trenches of Columbia J-school, on the latest from the Great Critical Issues Scandal of 2006. Our tipster notes that Critical Issues Prof. Samuel Freedman "seems to be taking an inordinate amount of heat for this, with his picture accompanying every written word about this non-scandal [Ed. note: We took pity on Professor Freedman, so that's Columbia J-School dean Nick Lemann pictured at right]." The ins and outs of the "non-scandal" are a little complicated, and frankly, a little boring—basically, someone said that people were passing the questions around, which is verboten because it's an opinion test. Sayeth our tipster:
Yes, the irony is unavoidable, but this was blown up by the faculty, who kept us in the dark for a week and a half while giving interviews to the Times. I figured this meeting was about cheating, but that assumption wasn't confirmed until I opened the Metro section today.
Oh, snap! More non-scandalous dirt after the jump.
The great majority of us are frustrated because the Deans promised anonymity to the person who came forward, and now insist they cannot retroactively compel him or her to "name names." This is an Ivy league school, and the cheaters' only punishment is collective — write an essay, the one which was leaked to you with great haste. So there will be no investigation, and subsequently, no punishment. They refuse to even investigate those who took the test in 30 minutes, leaving them an hour to spare. It was impossible to write this in 30 minutes unless you had the questions ahead of time.
The only reason I think—and most of us think—stern punishment is warranted is because the story is in the press, and the faculty must be seen as taking a hard tack with the Jayson Blairs they are now perceived to be sending out into the world.
Thank God he went to the University of Maryland.