Friday, December 21, 2007

Rao Yi Responses to Professor Stearns' Letter

Professor Rao Yi (饶毅), a long time Fang Zhouzi supporter and the new dean of Peking University's School of Life Sciences, has publicly responded to Professor Stearns' letter criticizing the wide-spread plagiarism in Peking University. According to the press release, Rao Yi is the first person among the recepants of Stearns' letter to reply.

In response to Stearns' charge that the faculties and administrators have been covering up past plagiarism cases, Rao Yi announced unequivocally that should any faculty members in his School of Life Sciences be found guilty of plagiarism, they would be expelled.

It is not clear whether any of the students in Stearns' class who had committed plagiarism belong to Rao Yi's School. Nevertheless, Rao Yi had also received email from at least one such student pleading innocence. Rao promised to work with both the students and Professor Stearns to resolve the matter. He also encourages the students to face their mistakes and look forward.

It is highly unusual for an officer of any kind to respond to criticism in such a timely and clear manner. Having returned to China and become the dean only mere months ago, Rao Yi is certainly presenting himself as a new kind of administrator and scholar. It's very refreshing to see.

Of course, Rao Yi's ultimate test is still yet to come, when he has a plagiarism (or other fraud) case in his hands. Would he be able to keep his promise?

1 comment:

Timothy said...

Rao Yi's response is really skillful. The charge was "coverup", not the act itself. And Rao Yi's response is that they will expell people who are found cheating, not found covering up cheating. So, is covering up of cheating going to be punished ? If not, cheating will be continue to be covered up, and there will be no discovery of cheating. No one gets expelled.

I love it when a plan comes together.