I am an adjunct professor at a University for a course where the students have to use a certain software "X" during the course. The software is distributed under a proprietary license; our University has bought a number of licenses, which have been made available for the students. Due to COVID restrictions, I am delivering the course online.

Recently, I have received a couple of... questionable emails from students who apparently have had issues in installing the (legally distributed) student version of X.

  1. One said that he is following the course together with a colleague, visiting his home and using together the same PC. I am quite sure this is not allowed under the current COVID restrictions in my country.
  2. Another one has admitted that he is using a pirated version of the software on his personal PC.

Note that, in both cases, I did not inquire about these issues: they simply mentioned them matter-of-factly.

On the one hand, I realize it is not my job to investigate this kind of behavior; I am not sure I should report it, as I do not even have solid proof. On the other hand, not mentioning at all the legal ramifications in my email replies to the students can be seen as "letting it slide" or even condoning such behavior.

How should I proceed? I am inclined towards reprimanding admonishing the students (privately).

Note: This is not a question about the ethics of software piracy or of flouting social distancing regulations, but about the proper response to illicit behavior (which I have not personally witnessed) that happens off-campus. I am not completely sure that the students' conduct in this case is illicit, though I believe it is questionable at best.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion, nor for answers; this conversation has been moved to chat. Please see this FAQ before posting another comment.
    – cag51
    Commented Mar 24, 2021 at 20:05
  • 1
    Are you just looking for general advice about responding to admissions about illegal behaviour, or are you looking for advice specific to covid-19? Commented Mar 25, 2021 at 5:24

11 Answers 11


I think it's reasonable for you not to support these circumstances, but also no need for you to report/escalate the situation to compel some change in behavior.

In your place I'd advise your students A) that you cannot help with installation of non-standard copies, and B) you can't be responsible if the non-standard software they use prevents them from completing assignments on time (you can choose to be more forgiving if and when these circumstances actually occur).

However, if students are in fact having trouble installing software provided to them by the university (rather than side stepping some additional fees) then I think it's your responsibility to address that root cause first. If you can't get support through the vendor, then this is the issue I'd escalate instead. Your university bought licenses and should either provide support for these sorts of technical issues or expect support from the vendor. Your university can complain to the company they purchased licenses from if that company isn't providing sufficient technical support, or make sure they provide sufficient support themselves.

If there is some additional fee, then you should consider whether that fee is really appropriate and whether there are alternatives.

Lastly, on the Covid-19 issue... I think it's important to be wary of judging others who may need to bend the rules a bit for extenuating circumstances. Breaking restrictions to party is one thing, doing so to access school resources sounds like the most non-issue circumstance you're going to encounter as an educator. Maybe he's really visiting the colleague because they have no sufficient internet access at home, or doesn't have a computer or the funds to buy one. Needing to visit someone else to work on coursework sounds incredibly inconvenient - I doubt anyone is doing such a thing without a reason beyond "I felt like it". Maybe it's not your business to ask, maybe it's something you can ask compassionately about in case there is something you can do to help, but this is not the situation to consider escalating towards some sort of "consequences".

  • 15
    Re: support. In almost all cases, particularly with teaching licenses, the university got a massive discount with the caveat that the manufacturer doesn't provide support, or if any support, it would be placed in the back of the queue.
    – user71659
    Commented Mar 22, 2021 at 19:42
  • 24
    @user71659 In that case typically the university is taking over the support role. Especially for something as simple as getting the purchased software installed. My own institution has quite extensive if not overly pedantic instructions on installation of all the software they provide broadly on every sort of system on which it is supported. I will tweak my answer though to emphasize university support as well.
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Mar 22, 2021 at 19:50
  • More of a cynical comment re support: This is reasonable for "special software" (as, luckily, in the OPs case) but good luck getting support for distributed Windows licenses or other "standard" software (WebEx/Zoom). In my experience there's rarely anything better than "tried turning it off and on again?"
    – ljrk
    Commented Mar 23, 2021 at 11:57
  • 2
    @BryanKrause That's often the problem, in my experience. The TA and Professor often have the "answer", so they can easily identify student errors like your boundary conditions are wrong or your timesteps are too high. However, nobody is a software developer who knows about Visual C runtime conflicts or OpenGL driver bugs, so installation and first run is where things get hung up.
    – user71659
    Commented Mar 23, 2021 at 20:15

Let me translate:

I am an adjunct professor at a University for a course where the students have to use a certain software "X" during the course.

For your course, Students must use the software.

students who apparently have had issues in installing the (legally distributed) student version of X

The software provided by you is not working.

One said that he is following the course together with a colleague, visiting his home and using together the same PC. I am quite sure this is not allowed under the current COVID restrictions in my country. Another one has admitted that he is using a pirated version of the software on his personal PC.

Because the software is not working, students are forced to bend or break the rules. So:

  • You teach the course. You need to know. These students are doing the right thing, they report a problem with the course, including ramifications. Others might also have problems, might have found a workaround, but they remain silent.

  • It's a cry for help. That they have to bend or break the rules conveys the urgency. They need your help to rectify the situation.

  • If they get into trouble because of their actions, the mails will prove that they were actively working on solving the problems.

COVID is forcing us all to improvise. It is impossible to always follow the ever changing rules, and people sometimes get reprimanded or fined for slight transgressions. We need to love and help each other.

If you want to mention these problems, you might state that it was imposed on them by the current situation, then proceed to how you are going to help.

  • 1
    +1 for relating the behaviour to the course requirements. Commented Mar 24, 2021 at 8:28
  • "the mails will prove that they were actively working on solving the problems." The mails prove (in the legal terms) only two things: - they breached some rule; - the OP knew about them breaching rules. Then yes, in more abstract terms, the mail shows they were asking for help and trying to solve the problem. I agree with your answer.
    – EarlGrey
    Commented Mar 24, 2021 at 10:43
  • 3
    There should be a double upvote option for this answer. Getting people in trouble because they are forced to improvise in a system that does not let them operate as dictated by that very same system does not exactly constitute helping them.
    – UTF-8
    Commented Mar 24, 2021 at 12:22
  • @UTF-8 Bounties can be used for this- you put one on the question and award it to the answer as a "mega-upvote". Commented Mar 25, 2021 at 9:58
  • Exactly. If someone pirates software that's legally available to them don't look at the piracy, look for why they felt they needed to take that option. There's probably something in the licensing system that's going wrong (any other incompatibility would likely cause the same problem for the pirate version) and they either don't know who to contact for help or whatever help is available isn't doing their job. Commented Mar 25, 2021 at 18:44

I'm thinking that "reprimand" may be the wrong idea here, and certainly in isn't your responsibility to police their behavior and report them to higher authority.

You can, however, remind them of the responsibilities inherent in ethical and safe behavior and recommend that they not cross lines that an honest person wouldn't. I think that is the limit of it, and it might be a message that you could/should deliver to everyone.

But, I'm a bit worried about the COVID restrictions issue. Without knowing more than what you wrote, it is possible that two people use the same computer at different times, and so don't break any separation/isolation rules. On the other hand, working together might be breaking academic rules as well as pandemic restrictions, depending on your class.

But, in general, your main job is to teach people, and I don't just mean the subject of the course. Teaching about how to learn effectively and how to behave ethically may also be important to consider. The students might come out better if you treat them a bit gently, while still giving them proper, if uncomfortable, guidance.

  • Again (see my comments to the original question) I realize that reprimand is really the wrong word for what I wanted to say. I agree with reminding them of ethical responsibilities, but I am not convinced I should send the message to everyone (if only student Y has done this, they could feel accused in front of his colleagues even without mentioning their name).
    – GioMott
    Commented Mar 24, 2021 at 22:30
  • In any case, +1 for "your main job is to teach people", a sentiment I definitely agree with
    – GioMott
    Commented Mar 24, 2021 at 22:31
  • @GioMott, the best way to remind everyone is in the course syllabus or other standard materials. Even a university honor code. Nip it in the bud, as they say.
    – Buffy
    Commented Mar 24, 2021 at 23:01

I dont think there is any particular academic practice or advice that can be offered to help you here. Whether or not you take action to report potentially unlawful behaviours (of two very different kinds) is a practical and ethical decision that will involve a lot of factors that are specific to your situation and your personal views. There is certainly no requirement for academic staff to act as enforcement personnel for general legal rules that are outside the scope of their academic duties, so I see no professional obligation to take action in either case. (It would of course be a different matter if you were talking about enforcement of a university rule or policy.)

It is certainly open to you to take action in your general "mentoring" role to students, so if you feel like this warrants a stern talking to, I think you should feel free to do that. There can some benefit to alerting students to problematic aspects of the things they are doing, and how you would act differently, so I don't think it matters that it is not strictly your job.

If it were me, I would see the software piracy as largely a victimless action, since the student should already be able to access the software through the university anyway. For the breach of Covid distancing restrictions, there are a lot of contextual factors that would be important, but most especially the level of cases in your area and the consequent public danger created by breaches of the restrictions. (I am located in Canberra, Australia, where we have had virtually zero cases for the past year, so if I saw someone breaking distancing restrictions here, I wouldn't care.) You may have different circumstances to me, or different views on the seriousness of the prohibited conduct, so ultimately, this will be something you have to grapple with on the basis of your own beliefs.


How should I proceed? I am inclined towards reprimanding the students (privately).

Note: this is not a question about the ethics of software piracy or of flouting social distancing regulations, but about the proper response to illicit behavior (which I have not personally witnessed) that happens off-campus.

The ethics of this behaviour should be a key part of your response.

The question states that the behaviour was off-campus. This answer assumes that the behaviour was not connected to the university in any other way (not part of a university event, not using university resources etc).

This answer also assumes that there is no legal requirement to report this type of behaviour, as this is something we cannot help with anyway.

So the only reason to respond to this behaviour at all is that you want to act as a mentor to the students – that is, you want to give them advice, rather than “reprimands”. The fact that the behaviour is illegal (assuming that the behaviour is in fact illegal) is hardly sufficient for this type of advice. Illegal acts are everywhere, from distributing decades-old games without the consent of the copyright owner (which has huge potential legal penalties, yet is generally accepted and generally harmless) to tailgating (also generally accepted, despite being potentially deadly). You cannot possibly give advice about such behaviour without considering the significance of the potential legal penalties and the ethics of the behaviour.

How should I proceed?

  1. Set boundaries. Make it clear that your role here is solely to give advice – unless it turns out that you are required to report the behaviour or take some other action, in which case you should make that clear, too.
  2. Ensure the students are aware of the relevant laws. Perhaps, first, you should ensure that you are aware of the relevant laws (I am not quite sure what you mean by “quite sure”). Also ensure the students are aware of the potential penalties available under those laws.
  3. Explain why you are having this discussion. The mere fact that you are having this discussion implies that you also consider the behaviour to be unethical. Perhaps you do, or perhaps you just want to warn the students of possible legal consequences. Either way, make it clear to the students.
  4. If sufficient information is available, guide the students towards acceptable alternatives that still meet the students’ legitimate objectives.

Other users have given good reasons that both of the behaviours you mentioned may be reasonable in the circumstances, but this answer makes no specific comments on this point, as it is specifically excluded from the scope of this question.


They informed you in good faith that they were not able to install the appropriate software and had to resort to other options. So it appears they were looking to you to help them with the issue so that they could get a legal copy of the software.

imo, your primary concern should be to make the tools for the course available to the student rather than worrying about this rule-breaking.

When things don't work as expected, people have to improvise and sometimes break rules unfortunately. You haven't given them any appropriate options. I mean what are the students supposed to do here? Should they just skip the course and fail?

My advice is to fix the real issue. The lack of access to the proper software. Fix the issues that are forcing the students to resort to these other options. Or give them some other options. They shouldn't have been put in this position in the first place.

As far as admonishment, I don't know about the software issue. Don't know which country you're in, and how big a legal issue this is.

As far as the COVID thing, are you sure they were doing anything wrong? If they wash hands and use masks, I don't see why it's not allowed. I personally would be very careful about "admonishment". I'd phrase it much more in terms of concern for the health of the students rather than "putting them down". Unless you're sure they are breaking some specific law, I'd just advise them to follow appropriate COVID protocols. I personally would be offended if I was put down for doing my best in a difficult situation set down by the parameters of the course.

  • 1
    +1 for the general gist – fix the real issue – but I would caution against making assumptions about COVID-19 rules. There have certainly been times in my country when home visitors were restricted or banned under COVID-19 rules; this is no longer the case, because my country is managing the pandemic well, but I would not be surprised if it is the case in other countries. Commented Mar 25, 2021 at 3:35

For the guy pirating software....

Students are often doing the best they can with what they have. Sometimes the software you give them legally through the class isn't working for them. So, they go pirate a full software suite or something. (EG: had some folks in my IS grad that pirated full versions of SAS & Tableau).

As long as they're getting the work done for the class, and it meets the standards of the exercise(s), then let it slide.

But, email them and let them know that in the working world, using pirated software is going to be a major issue.

Projects in the working world are designed to generate profit. If all your profit (and then some) is eaten up by a lawsuit for using pirated / illegally licensed / etc software, code libs, etc... then "that guy" is not going to be employed for very long.

In the working world, I've seen folks get stuck with some garbage software their company gave them, so they pirated a software suite to secretly do better work. (EG: back when internet first showed up, some guys at a job site were stuck using notepad & ms paint as their web-design tool for a dept's intranet. They pirated a version of Dreamworks & Fireworks to create the intranet site for the dept.)

The person using the pirated / illegal software has to take it upon themself to know when they're crossing the line.

IE: using a pirated one-off software to do something real fast.. ok, fine. But, including a pirated piece of software as Standard Operating Procedure at the company.. not gonna fly if someone does a software audit.

EG: if someone pirated the full version of winZip, and used it to unzip something. Ok, whatever. But, if they use it to script a solution where they get some zipped-up data transfer files, use winZip scripting to automate an unzip and pass-off to another process as part of their ETL (extract, transform, load) data process they kit-bashed together... yeah, that could potentially be a lawsuit or fine waiting to happen.

So, just warn the student that using pirated software is ok as long as they get the assignments done, but be more careful / diligent in the working world.

For the folks sharing the software... I'd ask that they prove they each did their own work.

That might be hard if it's an assignment where everything should look the same.

EG: we did SAP homeworks in info sys class. Everyone's outcome, if done properly, would look the same. But, everyone had to use their own modules and stuff, so prof could easily see who was doing the work and not.

If it's some code, you'll just naturally have folks in coding classes sharing code. It's ok if folks brainstorm together on some code. That's how programmers work.

What's NOT ok, is if one student is doing all the work, and then a bunch of other students are expecting them to hand it off to them so they can turn it in as their own.

Had a major issue of that in a java class, where some foreign exchange students were treating one of the students like their slave labor. When everyone shows up with the same code, same variable names, etc... yeah, that's not gonna fly.

But, if those two students have to share the software, b/c one of them can't get it to run on their computer, or doesn't have a computer with specs good enough to run it, etc... well,... again, students gotta do what they gotta do to get by. Students aren't made of money, and often they're choosing the "least crappiest" situation, not the best situation to get things done in.

Ideally, the software you're making them use would be loaded on the computer lab computers, but I'm guessing computer lab's shut down due to COVID.

So, students gotta do what they gotta do to pass the class.

These are extraordinary times that require a little extra leeway.

  • 1
    You only have two lines addressing what the OP should do (emphasis added): (1) As long as they're getting the work done … let it slide. (2) But, email them and let them know that … using pirated software is going to be a major issue. // These two lines seem to contradict each other. But even worse, the rest of the post is very unclear. It seems to be saying “using copyrighted software without a licence is fine, as long as you do not get caught, but if you do get caught, then it is a major problem”. Is that really the message you want to send? Commented Mar 24, 2021 at 8:34
  • @BrianDrake: (1) don't punish them, (2) do warn them. Commented Mar 26, 2021 at 3:28
  • To me, “let it slide” means “ignore completely”. This seems to be a reasonable interpretation. This interpretation is reinforced by the context: there is obviously no basis for punishing the students in the first place, since (as far as we can tell) their behaviour was outside the university’s jurisdiction, so why would an answer say “do not punish them”? Commented Mar 26, 2021 at 3:53
  • @NateEldredge Forgot to ping you. Commented Mar 26, 2021 at 3:55

If I were you I would not report these students, but I will not try to justify this here (this has been discussed in other answers and I don't think I have anything relevant to add to that). On the other hand, what I would consider doing is suggesting to these students that they consider being slightly more careful what sort of information they share in communication with their teachers (for their own sake).

As shown by existence of this thread, there is also another aspect of this issue: action of students has put the teacher in uncomfortable position. For this reason it could be seen as slightly inappropriate, but this is a question about etiquette, not ethics.

This small answer was initially posted as a comment, but it was suggested to me that posting as an answer might be more suitable.

  • Actually, you seem to have expanded on your comment slightly, with the statement about “etiquette”. It is this statement that confuses me, because it makes it sound like your suggested discretion is for the teacher’s benefit. Originally, I thought it was for the student’s benefit (don’t tell people you did bad things; you might get in trouble!). Could you expand a bit on why students should be more careful about sharing information? Commented Mar 24, 2021 at 13:31
  • 1
    Initially I had only students' interest in mind. On second thought there is another aspect, though: as shown by the fact that this thread exists, action of these students has put the teacher in uncomfortable position. For this reason it could be regarded as inappropriate. Whether this is true is a discussion in etiquette, not ethics, I think.
    – Blazej
    Commented Mar 24, 2021 at 13:50

Your legal position is now shaky (country-dependent). You know of criminal behavior: what makes you an accomplice in criminal behavior?

However, you should ask to have a chat in person with the students. Afterwards write per email the reprimand (think about leaving a trace that save yourself from being accused of supporting the use of unlicensed software).

Regarding the OP: I know spending time to design a course is extremely tedious. But if the students are taking this course, and the course needs this software, why the course is not sponsored by the company providing the software? The company is getting trained workforce that will bring the software knowledge in the private world. Are the teachers working for the company or for the students? Can they teach the student the same set of skills without using this software, or at minimum providing an alternative to who does not want to use it?

Side&personal note: my career has benefitted a lot from the choice I had in the year '9x ... a rather crazy TA offered us the opportunity of attending a certain courses with the support of:

  • Python

I do not say one is right and one is wrong. I just say I benefitted a lot from the crazy TA spending time to explain the same thing over and over with two different approaches ... and at the time the license issue was a non-issue ... almost no-one had a personal computer!

  • Most of this post is about software publishers sponsoring courses, but it is not clear how this is relevant. This question is mainly about how to respond to admissions of illegal behaviour generally. Surely there are other questions where this would be more relevant. In any case, for all we know, this course is already sponsored (sponsorship ≠ technical support). Commented Mar 24, 2021 at 8:56
  • @BrianDrake "this is not a question about the ethics [...], but about the proper response to illicit behavior" What best response than trying to avoid to put the students in the need of illicit behavior (even for "meaningful" reasons, such as retaking the course and license expired, laptop trouble with the license verifications etc.). Do you limit yourself to "How to respond to illegal behavior"? straightforward: contact a lawyer (see my 1st line), unless you enjoy the prospect of hefty fine, job dismissal and in unlucky cases even jail-time
    – EarlGrey
    Commented Mar 24, 2021 at 9:13
  • Aiming to prevent illegal behaviour in the first place is reasonable, but it is not clear that this is your aim. You should say so. And you should demonstrate how your proposed measures will achieve this aim (like I said above, sponsorship ≠ technical support, and using different software does not guarantee that there will be no technical issues). Your first line does not actually say “contact a lawyer”. If that is what you mean, that is what you should say. Commented Mar 24, 2021 at 9:17
  • @BrianDrake For what I know from OP he can be living in a place where universities are directed by clergymen and no lawyer can enter in them. The reasonable answer to my question "what makes you an accomplice in criminal behavior?" in western oligarchies, such as the US [Gilens and Page, 2014], is "contact a lawyer", but it may not be the case if the OP lives in a teocracy or other system-ruled countries. Sponsorhsip /neq tech support, but for sure OP states "our University has bought" which then trigger my suggestion/rant.
    – EarlGrey
    Commented Mar 24, 2021 at 9:23
  • 1
    -1 Again, none of this is in the answer! Answers should make sense on their own, without requiring a sequence of comments like this. Please use that “Edit” button under the post to improve it. Commented Mar 24, 2021 at 9:27

Recently, I have received a couple of... questionable emails from students who apparently have had issues in installing the (legally distributed) student version of X.

Universities | colleges | schools frequently have an Information Technology (IT) department with full-time staff who are paid to help students manage problems like this. Ask for support from the IT department, if you can. For example, the IT department might assist you in creating a "how to" document that describes the correct procedure for obtaining, installing, and configuring the software for your course.

The software might require "floating" licenses that are issued from a dedicated software license server computer that is connected to the University's intranet. Access to that license server computer from off-campus locations might be restricted to users who are authorized to connect to the university's virtual private network (VPN) concentrator. Again, the IT department should be able to help with this.

  1. One said that he is following the course together with a colleague, visiting his home and using together the same PC. I am quite sure this is not allowed under the current COVID restrictions in my country.

In my opinion, there's little you can do about this. If student M does not have a working computer or does not have Internet access, and another student N (who is M's classmate) decides to let M share N's computer during your online lectures, I'd be okay with that. But I would try to determine who M and N are so that you can monitor and verify that M and N are not submitting homework solutions that are identical or nearly identical, for example.

  1. Another one has admitted that he is using a pirated version of the software on his personal PC.

In the United States, for example, unauthorized reproduction of a computer program is considered theft illegal; see also the references section below. As a defensive measure, I would send the student an email that mentions this so that you are on record as saying you do not condone this behavior.

I also recommend that you review your university's published rules regarding student accountability and academic (dis)honesty. Remind the student that s/he has a responsibility to comply with the university's student accountability rules to remain in good standing with the university. In most countries, software theft is considered both a tort and a crime, and admitting to the commission of a tort (copyright infringement) or criminal offense (software theft) could jeopardize the student's standing with the university.

Also, review your university's faculty handbook (or code of conduct, whatever it is called) to determine your responsibilities in this scenario.


For persons living in the United States and its territories, see also:


  • 1
    -1 for suggesting the OP pry into students’ off-campus living and working arrangements. Following a course together with fellow classmates should be normal, and is no way indicative of cheating. Also -1 for suggesting that copyright violations (which is what unauthorised reproductions of software are) are “theft”. Theft is generally a crime and copyright violations are generally crimes, but no legal system that I am aware of tries to equate them, despite what your clearly biased source claims. (Discussing the criminal aspects is fine, just use the proper words.) Commented Mar 24, 2021 at 8:45
  • @BrianDrake, courts in the United States do indeed regard "theft" and "infringement" as separate crimes. Nevertheless, the term "intellectual property theft" vis-à-vis copyrights is a commonly used synonym for "copyright infringement". My unqualified use of the word "theft" was intended to mean "intellectual property theft." But in hindsight, I agree that I should have explicitly stated "intellectual property theft" to avoid ambiguity. I've revised my post to remove and replace that particular statement. Commented Mar 24, 2021 at 23:04

If you feel you want to take some kind of action then consider the primary market for the software in question.

From the perspective of a company selling commercial software you'd be out out your mind to prosecute student piracy because it's the fastest way to get your hooks into the companies that will employ them. In the eighties and nineties Microsoft actively encouraged student adoption of its products. A blind eye was turned to even the most blatant piracy because Microsoft knew that the moment students transitioned to a professional context

  • they would want the software they were used to
  • they would have a lot to lose from the consequences of prosecution
  • there would be budget for software

In those days, had you reported student misconduct to Microsoft, they would have thanked you and carefully lost the information. The students were handling marketing and distribution for them at no charge and without support costs. The most profitable way to handle the situation was make it easy for them to do and look the other way.

How do you report it to a company that would prefer not to know?

Based on correspondence it appears that some students are having difficulty in remaining fully compliant with licence terms. [Explain problem scenario.] If you have any suggestions as to how best to remedy the situation they would be welcomed.

They'll either delete that immediately or tell you how to sort it out.

If the software is strictly for academic consumption it's a very different story. In that case some of these other answers apply and it's on you and your department to enable the student access to services.

  • -1 “If your awareness of the situation is discoverable you are obliged to take action.” In general, you are not obliged to act on something just because you are aware of it. Such obligations would be very problematic. Such an obligation might exist in this specific situation, but we have no way of telling. Also, other answers have specifically said that such an obligation does not exist in this situation, and no one has disputed this. In any case, even if the statement I quoted were known to be true, the reasoning behind this should be included in the answer. Commented Mar 25, 2021 at 3:40
  • If you know and people know you know, and you do nothing, you are complicit. I wasn't talking about legal obligation. You can tell by the way I didn't say "legally obliged".
    – Peter Wone
    Commented Mar 25, 2021 at 9:04
  • I've removed the paragraph that bothers you, it's not important to the points I wanted to make. Now you have no justification for the downvote.
    – Peter Wone
    Commented Mar 25, 2021 at 9:18
  • 1
    (1/2) As an experienced Stack Exchange user, you should be aware that providing feedback on downvotes is explicitly optional. Nevertheless, I will provide some feedback here (and it does not involve “disdain for the truth”). Firstly, you have to read far into the answer to understand its relevance to the question – all the way down to the quoted paragraph. Even then, it is, at best, only relevant to half the question. Commented Mar 27, 2021 at 8:35
  • 1
    (2/2) I say “at best” because you talk about the “eighties and nineties” but do not explain how that relates to 2020 and 2021 (the pandemic). The quote itself is difficult to understand – it is an answer to the question right above it, but when we read that question by itself, it looks like a hypothetical question. And it does not address the (highly likely) possibility that the students would also prefer for the company to not know. Reporting behaviour like this, when there is no obligation to do so and the students have not been warned about it, sets a terrible precedent. Commented Mar 27, 2021 at 8:35

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