Thursday, November 13, 2008

Long Live Loye Young!!!

By Richard Vedder

Loye Young is today's hero. He has been fired by Texas A and M for lowering the self esteem of six cheaters in his class. Meanwhile, of course, the "F" grades he gave the students have been put on hold. At least that is what INSIDE HIGHER ED tells us this morning.

This is shameful and contemptible. Mr. Young warned students on his syllabus that he would do precisely what he actually did --humiliate and fail students who cheat and plagiarize. Students allegedly cheated, so Mr. Young followed his own policy, announcing his actions on his web site. A and M pointed out, no doubt correctly, that Young violated the Buckley Amendment designed to protect the privacy of students.

The net result: enforcers of academic dishonesty are punished, the perpetrators of the dishonesty are likely to be only lightly punished if at all, and the integrity of the academy has taken another hit. My advice to Governor Rick Perry -- threaten to punish A and M big time financially if this grave injustice is not corrected. If more people had the the balls and principles of Loye Young, the moral decay brought about by academic dishonesty would be dramatically reduced, the academy would be more faithfully fulfilling its mission, and the public would be more supportive of the universities that have grown rich, arrogant, and morally suspect.

The reason the market sector is efficient and works while the not-for-profit sector is relatively inefficient and does not work is explained by incentives. In private business, good is rewarded and failure is punished. In higher ed, the incentives are all perverse --don't anger anyone, no matter how destructive their behavior, and don't reward principled enforcement of standards (rather, punish it if it is too agressively followed). Loye Young went a tad far in publishing the names of cheaters, perhaps, given the law, but he was fundamentally right --humiliation is an effective form of punishment. I suppose the students now are going to sue Mr. Young for damaging their self-esteem. Maybe it is time to move to Australia -or Mars.

Shame, shame, shame for Texas A and M. All those Aggie jokes have validity, and long live Loye Young and the University of Texas, a real university.


Raul said... is amazing how uneducated today's most trusted writers can be. The FACT is that Loye Young violated Family Education and Protection Act (FERPA)and regardless of whether he warned the students or not, what he did STILL was a violation. A crime warned ahead of time is in fact still a crime, right? TAMIU has a strict policy on plagiarization in which the student will be reviewed before an Honor Council and their punishment would be chosen then. TAMIU fails the student 99.9% of the time. It is nowhere near necessary to publicly humiliate the students because it is the job of the school, not the professor, to decide punishment. Such vigillante acts are indeed wrong and two wrongs do not make a right. Loye Young is an insult to this great school that I am PROUD to attend for this school has given me opportunities I would have never had before. Please do more research before you write on such a topic;it helps to know what you are talking about.

Raul said...

And by the way, the university is Texas A&M International University....once again you are wrong...hmm is there a pattern going on here???

Loye said...


Thank you for your support on this issue.

Academia has forgotten its roots. The university system evolved as a bulwark to protect free and open expression and intellectual honesty. The fundamental principle was that ideas should be publicly vetted and subjected to open review.

Central to the effectiveness of the university system, it was argued, is the tenure system. Tenured professors would be free to speak openly in the marketplace of ideas. The current situation is precisely the reverse.

The modern university system has developed powerful incentives for professors, especially tenured ones, to coddle students and to promote deceit. The only reason I am able to speak freely on the subject is that I do not depend on the university for my livelihood.

Everything I required of my students and everything I wrote was both legal and appropriate. The allegation that I violated FERPA is the specious babbling of a Provost who has not actually read the Act or the regulations. In fact, two weeks before I announced the plagiarism, the department chair asked me to provide the university with a legal analysis of FERPA itself. I spent several days reading the Act and DOE guidance. I distributed my written analysis to the administration, including President Ray Keck and Provost Pablo Arenaz, the week before I published my findings on student plagiarism. I daresay that at the time, I was more familiar with current FERPA regulations than anyone in at TAMIU. To this very day, not one person has found any fault with my analysis or my conclusion.*

I am gratified that saying the king has no clothes has started this public conversation. It's long overdue.

Happy Trails,

Loye Young
Isaac & Young Computer Company
Laredo, Texas

*Students postings on a public, online forum are not subject to FERPA because the postings are not educational records maintained by the institution. A statement of my intent to fail the students for plagiarism, in accordance with University policy, is likewise not a violation because I did not disclose any educational record maintained by or on behalf of the University. For more information, see DOE's Proposed Rules published in March of this year.

Loye Young said...

I said in my posting that the Provost hasn't read FERPA or the regulations. In fairness, of course, I don't know what Dr. Arenaz has read, if anything. I do know that a fair reading of the Act and the guidance promulgated thereunder would lead the Provost to another conclusion.

Happy Trails,

Loye Young

Raul said...

Mr. Young, seeing as how you are reading this, I wish to ask you one question. What implys you to believe that students are "babied" and that we do not know that we will be punished when it comes to plagiarization? We do indeed know we will be punished, as a matter of fact, we sign a contract about it on our first mentor meeting. You have no idea how the students other classes are. With excellent professors such as Dr. Blackwell and Dr. Thompson who have very much difficult courses how can you blindly accuse the students of being babied? It sounds like a child saying "well HE deserved it" after being punished. You once said "TAMIU's main concern is getting tuition and state funding rather then teaching students." Can you prove it or is it just the mindless rantings of an angry businessman? You told LMT that TAMIU warned you to remove the blog and you refused. FERPA states "Schools may disclose, without consent, "directory" information such as a student's name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, and dates of attendance. However, schools must tell parents and eligible students about directory information and allow parents and eligible students a reasonable amount of time to request that the school not disclose directory information about them. Schools must notify parents and eligible students annually of their rights under FERPA. The actual means of notification (special letter, inclusion in a PTA bulletin, student handbook, or newspaper article) is left to the discretion of each school." TAMIU had decided that your blog did not fall under this and asked you to pull it off, or am I mistaken? (If I am blame LMT seeing how you're good a blaming things on people...) The school has the power to disclose the information but once a professor goes against the school's consent, the action is against FERPA.

M<3 said...

i do no see why are you guys making so much fuzz about this.
Mr. Young you are just being all pissy about getting fired BECAUSE the institution was right and you Were NOT.
saying that students are being babied is ridiculous. Have you gone to any high school lately? THAT is being babied.

TAMIU is an excellent institution. it is better than UTSA.

I believe in fact that you are just taking advantage of the situation to advertise your business. because, of course you have money from your business, but who doesnt like extra cash by doing nothing.

"Loye Young
Isaac & Young Computer Company<---
Laredo, Texas" <--- SEE!

*it is a FACT That TAMIU has more requirements for enrolement than UTSA. WHAT DOES THAT TELL YOU?

Loye Young said...


You raise appropriate questions.

You asked: "What implys (sic) you to believe that students are 'babied' . . . ?"

The chairman of the department, Dr. Balaji Janamanchi, told me when we were reviewing my syllabus together. In his words, "You have to baby the students because our students are not ready for college level work."

Other faculty have told me in informal conversations the same thing. From the conversations I've had, it's not even particularly controversial among the faculty. The controversy at this time is simply whether and to what extent coddling unprepared students is appropriate.

You asked: "You once said 'TAMIU's main concern is getting tuition and state funding rather then teaching students.' Can you prove it or is it just the mindless rantings of an angry businessman?"

Dr. Janamanchi told me so explicitly, at the same meeting described above. I assume he is in a position to know.

University President Ray Keck's recent emails to faculty have placed much emphasis on retention rates and increasing enrollment dollars. He expressed great pride that TAMIU is doing so well financially. In contrast, I've not seen any objective assessment of student learning outcomes.

You asked about FERPA's notice and consent requirements.

The students were given a detailed syllabus that detailed exactly what and how information would be disclosed and were given an opportunity to withdraw from the class without penalty.

The students themselves posted their information on a public site. No student has complained to me about privacy or asked to have any information removed.

Even my public statements that the students had plagiarized and would fail is not a violation of FERPA. The Department of Education has recently issued guidance on just this point. The Act protects educational records maintained by the University. I never disclosed any educational record. Simply, I publicly stated my intention to follow the syllabus and University policy by automatically failing the students, referring the students to the University, and advising the students of their right to appeal.

By the way, two weeks before I published the names of the plagiarizers, the department asked me to analyze FERPA because I'm trained as a lawyer. I distributed the analysis in writing a week before I announced my findings of plagiarism. To this day, not one person from the University has disputed the analysis or my conclusions.

Thank you for commenting and participating in this conversation. It's a conversation long overdue, and I respect you involvement.

Happy Trails,

Loye Young
Isaac & Young Computer Company
Laredo, Texas

capeman said...

I don't know about the legality of what was done -- publicizing the names of the students -- but it sounds dubious to me, legally, and in any case, it sure isn't anything I would do as a faculty member. It is nobody's business but that of the student, the faculty member, and the appropriate college officials. I include a statement in the syllabus of each class about the penalties for academic dishonesty. Where I work, incidents of plagiarism are handled with confidentiality, but they are punished. I would say that at the least, the faculty member in this case used bad judgment.

Raul said...

I appreciate your answer Mr. Young.

It appears I would know nothing of the Department you are speaking of, for I can assure you that in the College of Arts and Sciences, we are no where given the easy route. Perhaps your quarrel is not with the entire University but with the School of Business. But once again, as a student I assure you, we are not given any easy route through our studies. I admit I am starting to see where you are coming from about FERPA, but perhaps next time you shouldn't focus on the punishment as much as the education.

Plagiarizaton is a major problem in all Universities, but due process must be appreciated at all times. Perhaps vigilateism (as called by Inside Higher ED) should be taken only when the Laws' reach is too short. Have you had let the Honor Council act first before yourself perhaps this arguement would have been an applaud.

Concerning Keck's emails, I doubt that his interest in money can affect the quality of my professors or my education. Your concern for education is understood, but as a respectable businessman I am sure you understand that business makes businessmen happy.

This is indeed a conversation long overdue, and rest assured that if any topic will threaten the image of the University that is giving me my future, expect me to get involved.

Thank You,

Raul Castro
Freshman (Criminal Justice Major)

Tiffany said...


Punishment, in our society, is considered a form of education. You should know this, does criminal justice ring a bell? Also, it seems curious that you are talking about not being babied at school however you are acting as if you are in fact the victim (victim = child-like role of not taking responsibility for your actions) of Loye's actions.


I do not understand what your goal was when posting the plagiarizers. It was a drastic move; it seems that you are concerned with the 'health' of our school systems and know that they are in need of MAJOR repair. You come off like an intelligent guy, I would love to see you take your enthusiasm for this problem (education) and put it to work to make a positive change. I will help reform that problem!

One last thing Raul,

Heed advice from the people who have already gone to college, once you get out into the 'real-world' nobody is going to give two dimes about your feelings or shaming you, better build up your character now while you still have a chance.

Loye Young said...

>I do not understand what your goal was
>when posting the plagiarizers.

My primary goal was to do the right thing. See Is Humiliation an Ethically Appropriate Response to Plagiarism?

In addition to the arguments I have already laid out in a variety of contexts, I accept as spiritually authoritative the moral teachings of the Church. See Fraternal Correction and Participation in social life.

Raul said...

I fully understand the consequences of certain actions and I do understand the students did get what they deserved. Punishment is considered a form of education, but you must realize that there is Justified punishment and unjustified punishment.
I am not arguing about the punishment I am arguing about how misinformed many commentators are, yet they feel as if they should post "smart" comments about topics they have no idea about. I understand Loye Young's actions.
Tiffany, your definition of vitcim is very much opinionated and does not apply in your "real world". In the REAL WORLD a victim is "somebody who or something that is adversely affected by an action or circumstance."
Once again what angers me is the misinformation of society, and had you have been properly informed of the topic, then perhaps your comments would have been a bit more educated. The writer of this article was obviously misinformed about his topic, and if you cannot get the right information, why bother even writing an article on something you do not know of?
Tiffany you should read Mr. Young and my comments once again. I was once as misinformed as others (as you can read in my first post) but after debating with Mr. Young I, now more informed of the topic, see nothing wrong in his actions besides his direct disobedience of the University(as you can read in my post before this one). It also shows how to carry on a civilized debate, not mindless name calling. And FYI, name calling is so, as you once said "child-like."
I do not speak of my feelings, or of anybody shaming me. I speak for my classes of how the misinformed public is criticizing a great University because of the unacceptable writing skills of Mr. Vedder and the Laredo Morning Times. I do not use my voice for my own gain, but I use my voice to represent the people.
Please try to be more informed of what you speak of.
Raul Castro