Against the tyranny of the majority: response to Zepeda Patterson

Plagiarism, law and morality

I think no one has noticed it except for Guillermo Sheridan, who identified him in his column last week by pointing out the “curious turn” that a leader “convinced that the law is less important than justice” was taking when he ended up demanding UNAM to “prosecute the ethical problem of academic plagiarism involving the public ministry” ( ). And it is that given the existence of a deficit in university legislation regarding what proceeds in the case of plagiarism of a fully accredited degree thesis committed more than 30 years ago, Rector Graue chose to warn that he would not act above what the rules allow, “hastily or irresponsibly in response to external pressure to make summary judgments”, despite the widespread outrage that the case has provoked and the unequivocal repudiation that such a lack of integrity on the part of the former student deserves , now minister, Esquivel. A frustrating but sensible position, which she does not seek to turn around the complexity of the problem, but to admit it, abiding by limits and assuming costs, in order to attend to it with the seriousness that circumstances demand. All of which was described by the president as “pure dizzying wool”; what proceeds, according to López Obrador, “is to file a complaint for the public prosecutor to resolve.”

The rector tries to take care of the legal formalities and to keep the case within the sphere of university autonomy; the president disdains such formalities as vile verbiage and concludes that the solution is to move the case to the judicial sphere. It is the same president, by the way, who has not tired of disqualifying judges, magistrates and ministers, who labels them as puppets of vested interests and accomplices of the oligarchy, corruption and impunity, when they do not decide in his favor. Now it turns out that he trusts them more than the National University itself? How odd.

However – and this is the fundamental thing – the rector does not hide behind a legal vacuum to avoid moral condemnation, on the contrary: he says that plagiarism is not a minor matter but a “painful”, “reprehensible”, “inadmissible” act. ”, a “usurpation of ideas and talents” that “questions the ethics and morals of those who commit it”, which “offends and “hurts” the university community. And what does the president who vaunts the importance of moral values ​​do when faced with the seriousness of this act? Attacking the person who denounced it in the first instance, questioning the intentions of those who call for the minister to resign, incurring the contradiction of suggesting that, in exercise of its autonomy, the UNAM put the case in the hands of a public prosecutor… In short, any anything less to openly and directly condemn the immorality of the act in which his minister incurred. It is the same López Obrador, by the way, who proposed “leading by example”; that he made “brave honesty” his emblem; that on several occasions he has argued that there are actions that may be legal but that is not why they are moral, and for this reason they deserve social sanction even if there is no way to legally sanction them.

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