xtitsx: (Default)
( 1 Apr 2017 02:22 pm)
i got an e-mail in my Law School account late this past Thursday afternoon, after i had come back from class.
the e-mail was from the Secretary to the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and was two terse sentences long:
“The Associate Dean of Academic Affairs has schedule a meeting for you for 8:30am. This meeting is mandatory.”
“what the fuck is this?” i wondered. what could the Associate Dean want with me?
i sent a reply asking what this was in reference to, but by the time i sent it off it was 4:50 and i guess the Secretary was already gone for the day so i had to spend the rest of the evening wondering what the fuck this could be about.
i figured this was about the classes i had registered for Fall, 2017 the day before, something wrong with the scheduled i selected, maybe, but i was also nervous that it might be about something else.
it was about something else.

i didn't have Property class that Friday and i had been looking forward to sleeping in, but, when the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs summons you with such a terse demand, you show up.
so, i got out of bed before the sun was completely up, ate a banana, brushed my teeth and had a nervous shit.
i shit in the morning most mornings anyway, but this was a fluttery butterflies-in-my-tummy shit, not a standard morning evacuation.
i drove to school, sat in the parking lot for a few minutes composing myself, then went into school and found my way to the Administrative suite.
i reported to the Associate Dean's Secretary who had me sit in her office for a few minutes which she promptly left, then came back several minutes later to take me to to the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs' office.
the Associate Dean was sitting behind her desk and there was a woman i've never seen before sitting on a sofa in the corner with a laptop on her lap.
i was told the woman would be taking notes “for the record.”

the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs is the meanest, hardest, nastiest woman i have ever met.
she was an L.A. County defense attorney and spent her career dealing with hard-ass criminal scumbags all day long.
subsequently, she talks to everybody like they're gang members and turns every room she's in into the county jail.
i have an aversion to the woman under the best circumstances, but this was the absolutely worst way to have to deal with her.
the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs directed me to have a seat at the other side of her desk then she stared at me for the longest fifteen seconds of my life before looking down and opening a file on her desk with my name written on the tab.

“we've uncovered evidence that you plagiarized substantial portions of your Legal Writing memo #4” she told me, then let that hang there for a while.
i didn't know if i was supposed to reply to that, and my first instinct was denial, but, as soon as i opened my mouth the Associate Dean interjected “let me stop you right there...
we know what you did. this isn't an investigation.
this is just to inform that a tribunal will be convened with the Board of Regents one week from today that will result in your separation from the University with cause.
we take our honor code very seriously at Texas A&M. you signed an honor pledge during orientation week. the University does not tolerate a cheater.”
i just sat there, resentful and shamed and stupefied, unable to think of how to get myself out of this horrible situation.

if i've ever cheated in school on anything before it hasn't been since Middle School, if ever.
when i taught school, i myself took a harsh view of academic plagiarism, referring whoever i caught to the Administration and saying that in my view they ought to be caned.
they never were, as far as i could tell they got little more then a slap on the wrist, and i considered that a moral failing on the Administration's fault.
and now here i was in the Associate Dean's office, facing the kind of remorseless Draconian justice i wanted for the middle and high schools cheats i caught and i found myself whimpering for mercy like a hypocrite and a coward.
all i got from the Associate Dean was a pitiless “this decision is final.”

i never had any sympathy for an academic cheat because, up until my failed experiment with Law School, i never had any occasion to.
i have always got stuff, school has always come easy to me, or, if it didn't, i was in a point in my life where i was fortunate not to give a shit.
but now, for the first time in my life i find myself wanting to succeed and seemingly unable to on my own.
for the life of me, i just cannot understand what is expected of me in Legal Writing II.
when i got a memo back with a 69.47 i decided, “i can't continue on like this.”
without even dwelling too much on the moral or practical ramifications for my academic career i Googled around and found a shop on the internet that has thousands and thousands of different kinds of papers on all different subjects, everything from middle school biology to medical school human anatomy.
under their Law School section i clicked around until i found a paper that dealt with copyright infringement, which was the hypothetical we'd been assigned to research and report on for Memo #4.
it wasn't an exact fit, of course, i had to spend two whole days editing the paper and tailoring it to the hypothetical we'd been assigned, but all the case precedents were there as well as a solid framework for legal reasoning.
the paper cost me $79 bucks, but it was noticeably better then anything i'd written previous.
i guess that's what sunk my ship.

as if my situation wasn't bad enough, the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs told me that the next step in the process is for me to go around to every Professor i've had in Law School so far and present them with a form that basically says “i am a cheat. please review all the work i have submitted and look for further instances of plagiarism to be reported to the Board of Regents Tribunal next week.”
there is no reason why i should be made to do this myself, it is just a cruelty.
i told the Associate Dean that there were no other instances of plagiarism, that this was my one and only fuck-up and please don't make me go embarrass myself like this, but, predictably, she had no sympathy.
she got up and stuck her head in the hall and signaled for one of the campus security guards to escort me around the building because, these motherfuckers were just laying it on thick, now.
the Security Guard was a middle-aged Mexican woman i am friendly enough with. we nod hello when we see each other in the parking lot.
having her know my situation was especially embarrassing.

with the Security Guard trailing behind me, i was sent to go bring my scarlet letters to all my different Professors in their offices.
i have had seven Professors in my now-ruined Law School career; Torts, Criminal Law, Legal Writing I, Professional Identity, Contracts, Property and Legal Writing II.
obviously, my Legal Writing II Professor already knows what's going in because he's the one who caught me.
of the six remaining Professors i had to report to, four were in their offices.
i presented my “I AM A CHEATER” letters to my Torts, Criminal Law, Legal Writing I and Contracts Professors and had to stand there while they read it over and signed it.
i couldn't look them in the eye to see their disappointment so i just stared at a fixed point in the horizon.
my former Criminal Law Professor asked me why i had done it, more in sorrow then in anger.
i mumbled “i don't know...” over and over again and waited to be dismissed
only my former Torts Professor looked smugly satisfied when i presented him with his copy of my Letter of Shame, like he knew this was how i would turn out all along, the cocksucker.
after handing out all of my letters to all the Professors who were around i was escorted out of the building by the middle-aged Mexican lady security guard.
“thanks,” i said to her, when she left me in the parking lot, though i don't have the slightest idea what i was thanking her for.
i guess i was just looking for somebody to say something nice to me after all this shameful shit went down.
“yeah, take care, now” she mumbled, apathetically.

so what comes next?
i have a Tribunal with the Board of Regents next Friday at 3:00pm.
they will formalized my separation from the Texas A&M School of Law.
before that, though, on Monday, i have to go back to campus to hand in my remaining two Letters of Shame to my Professional Identity and Property Professors.
in addition to having to see those two, i also dread running into any of my classmates.
i don't know if Monday is enough time for them to all get wise to what my deal is, but they'll notice my absence soon enough and the word will spread.
in anticipation i already deleted the GroupMe app on my phone so nobody can send me a text message to ask what happened.
my hope is that i will never see any of these people again.
not that they haven't all be nice, lovely people, many of whom i consider some shade of friend, but because i can't tolerate the shame of having disappointed them.

this whole thing has been, perhaps, the lowest point in my life.
the worst thing that has ever happened to me.
i want to say “fuck it! i don't care! at least now i'm free to do as i please!” but i do care. i care a lot.
not only have i destroyed the future i was trying to make for myself, however reluctantly, but now i have to carry the personal dishonor of being a cheater.
i may be a lot of things, but before this all happened, at least i was honest. now, i don't even have that.
i don't know what the fuck i do have that's worth anything, really.

//[ab irato ad astra]

September 2017

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