Etiquette School is in session! > "I'm afraid that won't be possible."

Pushy Student

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In my field, we often supervise students for internships.  Myself, and my two collegues each have students from different schools, who are taking approximately the same class.

S1 asked S2 if she could read her paper on a proposal.  S2 said "sure" all about helping out another intern.  S1 asked if she could make a copy, and S2 said "I'm afraid that won't be possible, but you can read it over."  S1 said that she couldn't possibly read it today, and she really needed a copy.  S2's instructor, (my collegue who is normally a pushover, but I'm proud of her for this) said, "S2 is really uncomfortable with giving out copies of her paper, it has taken two weeks for her to write it, and she is not done.  She would happily let you read it over today or next week."

Plagerism alarm bells going off.  S1 then approached S2 again and asked for a copy...  AGAIN!  She politely said no again, and came to me.  She is now concerned that S1 made a secret copy.

My first thought is to approach S1's supervisor.  Not being accusatory, but maybe asking him to talk to S1's prof, and forward a copy of S2's paper to the school.  That way if it is innocent, no harm no foul.  If it isn't, the school has proof of plagerism.


S1's pushiness is raising flags. If you can do something to protect S2 without making harmful accusations (or interesting assumptions  ;)), I would.

Is it possible that S1 is clueless rather than devious? Maybe her supervisor needs to explain professional courtesy, and how/why making such a request is considered a faux pas in your field.

That's what I am thinking.  S2 has been working on my unit since Sept, and met S1 just today.S1's direct supervisor believes that Denial is a river in Egypt.  I will approach him first thing tomorrow, and ask that he review her grant proposal before she submits.  I have a copy of S2's paper, and if anything is fishy, I want S1 out of my field.

I am hoping that S1 is clueless, but I dont get the clueless vibe from her.  She went behind people's backs after S1 had asked her twice and been denied by S2, didn't take no for an answer when S2's supervisor told her no, etc.

I feel like I want to give her the rope to hang herself if she really is being devious, but not accuse her of anything if she is not.  I figure if we ask her prof what her proposal was at the end of semester, and it is different, no big deal.  However, if we find that it is the same proposal, she has violated ethical code, and University code.

Oh yeah, didn't hit on the professional courtesy.  S1 is working on her masters degree in this field, while S2 is working on her Bachelors. 

I would expect that S1 would have a better grasp of professional courtesy, since she has had two years more experience in the field than S2.  If not, that raises a red flag, as well.

The paper's a grant proposal, right?  That S2 hasn't yet submitted?

But S1 is still on her Bachelor's, and S2 on her Master's?  Would it be common for a Bachelor's student to be making her own grant proposals in your field?  I would have expected that in a Master's student at the earliest, so I wouldn't have expected S1 to have any cause to plagerise.  Unless she needs to do it as a exercise?  Or plans to do a Master's and is thinking ahead?  Or is it just the way things are done in your field/country?


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