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Quick Takes: Judge Rejects Suit Against Turnitin, Settlement Ends Grad Student Strike at Michigan, The Disappearing College Town Record Store

March 26, 2008
  • A federal judge has rejected a lawsuit by four high school students who claimed that Turnitin, a popular plagiarism detection service used by many schools and colleges, violated their ownership rights to their own papers. The ruling said that the box students check consenting to having their papers reviewed (and stored) makes it impossible for the students to sue. Because the students checked the box, they gave consent, even if they also stated their objections, the decision said. Further, the ruling defended the right of educational institutions to use services like Turnitin. "Schools have a right to decide how to monitor and address plagiarism in their schools and may employ companies ... to help do so," the decision said. An appeal is expected. The decision text and a critical analysis of it appear on the blog of Eric Goldman, a law professor at Santa Clara University who has been closely watching the case.
  • Graduate student instructors at the University of Michigan will be teaching today, following a tentative contract agreement late Tuesday night that ended what had been planned as a two-day strike after only one day. The Detroit News reported that many courses taught by graduate students were called off Tuesday, as were the classes of an undetermined number of professors who backed the strike. The Graduate Employees Organization, which is part of the American Federation of Teachers, published details of the tentative agreement on the union's Web site, noting gains in salaries and in coverage for mental health care, among other provisions.
  • The Associated Press has published what amounts to an obituary for a cherished college town institution: the independent record store. The article reports on the recent demise of Schoolkids Records in Chapel Hill, N.C., which followed the passing of Arboria and Vibes in State College, Pa., and BJ's, Sal's Music Emporium and Real Records in Ames, Iowa. The article quotes students and residents mourning the disappearance of the stores that carry hard-to-find imports and even, dare we say it, vinyl. But the owner of Schoolkids isn't impressed: "If everybody was so damned concerned," he told the AP, "they should have come in and bought a CD every once in a while."
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