This story — about the academic ghost writing industry, wherein students at all levels pay highly or well credentialed professional writers for custom work — is simultaneously fascinating and depressing. It recently appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education and might shock many professors. I have long been aware of this shadowy field, and am familiar with a few people who do this kind of work on occasion. They can be paid quite well.
Everyone connected with higher education should read the entire story, but I particularly enjoyed this excerpt from the cleverly named “Mr. Dante”:
I do a lot of work for seminary students. I like seminary students. They seem so blissfully unaware of the inherent contradiction in paying somebody to help them cheat in courses that are largely about walking in the light of God and providing an ethical model for others to follow.
I have been commissioned to write many a passionate condemnation of America’s moral decay as exemplified by abortion, gay marriage, or the teaching of evolution. All in all, we may presume that clerical authorities see these as a greater threat than the plagiarism committed by the future frocked.