401 votes
Accepted

Is it acceptable to publish student names with the label 'stupid question', on a publicly-visible website?

No. This is completely unacceptable. Sometimes faculty rant on social media and email lists where they do not think students will see the comments. Even this is frowned upon if the student could ...
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  • 103k
220 votes

Is it acceptable to publish student names with the label 'stupid question', on a publicly-visible website?

In addition to StrongBad's answer, this kind of behavior would also discourage students from asking questions in fear of finding themselves on the “stupid questions and answers” list. Given that “...
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  • 1,439
193 votes

Professor creates assignment making students advocate for a bill being presented to Congress. Is this legal?

Can a professor do this? Is this legal? Or a violation of students' First amendment? You are 100% correct to be concerned. No, the professor most certainly cannot do such a thing; his behavior is ...
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  • 168k
145 votes

Is watching porn in university a crime?

Let's start with the disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. If you're over the age of 18, it's not illegal to watch most types of porn in the US. Certain types of porn, like child pornography are illegal. ...
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  • 7,034
139 votes

Our teacher is encouraging us to use cracked software

My advice is to just use the pirated software and not rock the boat, just like Drunken Code Monkey, for example, mentioned. This issue isn't something that you're likely to solve yourself. Instead, ...
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  • 3,463
126 votes

Are non-citizen Muslim professors and students going to be removed from US universities and subsequently deported by Trump's ban?

The current ban applies only to people who are outside the US. Nobody knows what Trump might do in the future, though. Edit: The situation keeps changing, and I will not be updating this answer. ...
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122 votes

How to avoid being falsely accused of harassment by a student?

Frankly, it is not clear to me why you are so concerned about being falsely accused of sexual harassment. Yes, there is a chance of this happening, but the chance is very small, even compared to ...
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121 votes
Accepted

Our teacher is encouraging us to use cracked software

While it is true that software cracking is inappropriate and even illegal, almost everyone around me uses cracked software That is really bad and I know it happens also in my country (Italy). However,...
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121 votes
Accepted

How to avoid being falsely accused of harassment by a student?

I am not sure if my experiences are common, but as a faculty member in a psychology department I have had a number of unique and uncomfortable experiences with female students. I have described the ...
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  • 103k
115 votes

Is it valid to modify a student's exam grade if you feel they did not earn it?

Since you ask, specifically, about legality, I'll say that it is unlikely that it would be a matter of criminal law anywhere, though, of course, I can't know the laws of every jurisdiction. But it ...
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  • 259k
113 votes
Accepted

Professor creates assignment making students advocate for a bill being presented to Congress. Is this legal?

While it is certainly ethically and morally questionable - do consider how much you are willing to take this battle as a representative of justice or students or whatever. You can avoid conflicting ...
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90 votes

Would an honest researcher actually have to pay back their salary?

No, that answer is ridiculous. In North America, as long as you were working honestly*, the only reason you would ever have to return money is if you were accidentally overpaid (i.e. they paid you ...
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88 votes
Accepted

Alma mater (USA) refuses to remove my name from public search

In the United States, educational records - including the fact of your enrollment in this particular course - are protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). FERPA prohibits ...
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  • 107k
84 votes

Do I have the legal right to demand information on plagiarism of my work from another university?

In my opinion, what seems to have gone wrong is that the examination office employees do not have an interest in pursuing this issue. After all, the student having handed in your thesis may sue the ...
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  • 14.1k
81 votes

Our teacher is encouraging us to use cracked software

One thing you should absolutely avoid doing is cracking the software yourself. That opens you personally to a whole lot of legal issues (IANAL, but this is kind of obvious). If your computer is really ...
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77 votes

Is it acceptable to publish student names with the label 'stupid question', on a publicly-visible website?

It's not only that such ridiculing is absolutely unacceptable and counterproductive (as others mentioned already) but it also puts the academic themselves in a kind of bad light as a lecturer/teacher. ...
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  • 1,460
75 votes

Writing someone else's master's thesis: Unethical and illegal?

Think about it this way: Eventually one of those people for whom you write the thesis will be working for your stockbroker and influencing your investments, or working for your doctor or a hospital ...
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  • 25.1k
75 votes

I wrote the code based on a paper's methodology; are there any legal problems with making it open source?

You are not required to get permission to implement an idea you have read about in a paper, or to make it open source. The paper is protected by copyright, but this only protects the text and images ...
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  • 107k
74 votes

How to avoid being falsely accused of harassment by a student?

While it is nice that the other people show consideration for all women who are harassed, they do not seem to fully appreciate the position of the many men who are falsely accused. Someone in another ...
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  • 1,698
72 votes

Is watching porn in university a crime?

tl;dr there is at least one instance of a disorderly conduct charge for watching pornography in a university library. I bring you the story of STATE OF WISCONSIN v DAVID J. REIDINGER. From the most ...
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  • 107k
69 votes
Accepted

Are PhD supervisors responsible for informing students about legal issues pertaining to research?

Good research practice (which I would argue is not country specific), requires an independent ethical review of any research that involves human subjects. A university can make blanket determinations ...
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  • 103k
69 votes
Accepted

Co-authors decided to remove most of my contributions from a Nature paper without my consent

First, take the time to carefully consider your options. From your description the problem looks like a disagreement between co-authors: the behaviour of the corresponding author is careless and ...
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  • 12.4k
66 votes

Do I have the legal right to demand information on plagiarism of my work from another university?

The behavior of the University does not surprise me. A plagiarised thesis is considered an image damage, so the Univ. is not interested in any investigation. I don't think there is much you can do. ...
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  • 2,085
65 votes

Professor creates assignment making students advocate for a bill being presented to Congress. Is this legal?

The professor has given us all a template where we get to "customize" one paragraph with our own supporting statement. If your original contribution is only a small portion of the letter, that ...
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64 votes

What does a promise of possible funding "based on availability of departmental funding" actually mean?

Your institution has definitely met the terms laid out in your award letter, which states that there is "possibility of a fourth year based on availability of departmental funding." This does not mean ...
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62 votes
Accepted

How to get lab resources back from a post-doc who resigned while on vacation and not coming back?

The issues you are describing of misappropriation of university equipment, research data and unearned salary, rise to a level of seriousness that a rank and file faculty member is not equipped to deal ...
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  • 168k
61 votes

To avoid legal battle, in bussiness world reference letters are written extremely terse. How do academics get away with this?

My impression is that the difference is largely cultural. The academic community in the U.S. has developed a culture of relying on written letters of recommendation, and this practice has a lot of ...
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57 votes

Do I have the legal right to demand information on plagiarism of my work from another university?

The brushing off you describe looks like you just raised your concerns to the wrong persons in the depths of the administrative system. The German Research Foundation DFG has an ombudsman committee (...
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57 votes
Accepted

A team member of a coursework software development project didn't contribute in any way. Can I remove his name from the project?

Can I remove someone's name from an academic software development project that didn't contribute a single line of code? Just to focus on the title itself; lines of code contributed is not an accurate ...
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  • 544
56 votes

Legality of downloading books from websites such as Library Genesis

The legality of possession of pirated content varies across countries. In many countries, it is perfectly legal to have copies of copyrighted content as long as you don't share it with others. In the ...
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  • 705

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