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 Students: Laleh Dayenny
 Plagiarism Accusation
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42 Posts

Posted - 2006 January 29 :  16:26:34  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Laleh tends to be quiet in seminar, but her cell phone rang once in the middle of seminar, disrupting the class. While this type of mistake is apparently common on the Annapolis campus, it almost never happens in Santa Fe. Thomas Scally is a controversial tutor. Some students describe him as brilliant but strict; other students describe him as a jerk. She wrote her sophomore essay on Thomas Aquinas; she quoted him many times and used many footnotes. In the footnotes, she did not mention the name of the translator. Thomas Scally's basis for the plagiarism charge was that she falsely implied that she translated Thomas Aquinas herself from Latin to English. Thomas Scally's seminar partner, Mr. Bartok, is untenured and did not want to stand up to Mr. Scally. She was doing extremely well in her other classes, but this did not help her. At the end of the summer, her dismissal from the college was reversed, but she had already made alternate plans for the next year.


7 Posts

Posted - 2006 April 12 :  23:09:56  Show Profile  Visit davidav87's Homepage  Send davidav87 an AOL message  Reply with Quote
Do we have anymore information on this matter?
It seems absurd that Mr.Scally would do that. Is there something we are missing?

I gave that up a long time ago.
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4 Posts

Posted - 2006 April 25 :  17:27:15  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Who cares?
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The Great Pumpkin

8 Posts

Posted - 2006 May 23 :  10:54:18  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Like many others who know Ms. Dayenny, I was shocked by Mr. Scallyís treatment of her. Mr. Vidaurre finds it hard to believe that anyone could act so cruelly, and he surmises that he is missing something that may help to explain what happened. If one views Mr. Scallyís conduct toward Ms. Dayenny in the context of his general character, then his behavior is not so hard to believe. While there are many wonderful tutors at St. Johnís, not every tutor strives to achieve the St. Johnís ideal, and it should not be surprising that there are a few bad apples like Mr. Scally. While Mr. Scally has done many troubling things, equally disturbing is that so many good people did nothing to stop him. Mr. Scally had many silent partners who by their inaction facilitated his actions; in a way, everybody who observed Mr. Scallyís dealings with his students and did nothing is also culpable. There were several seemingly minor incidents involving Mr. Scallyís relations with his other students that preceded Ms. Dayennyís expulsion. These shed light not only on the kind of man Mr. Scally is, but also on how many in the St. Johnís community repeatedly chose to tolerate his behavior. Mr. Scally has a history of neglecting his duties, yet many people, including me, chose to laugh at the odd personality quirks of a gruff old man rather than to confront him or to speak out against him. I laughed at these funny incidents because I had no idea at the time (although in retrospect, I should have known) that such seemingly unimportant matters presaged the injustice perpetrated against Ms. Dayenny.

When Mr. Scally judged the mathematical aptitude of his freshman math students and openly classified the students as either good or poor at math, we did not complain that this act was contrary to the spirit of St. Johnís. One student classified by Mr. Scally as bad asked him if he could be reclassified as a good student, so Mr. Scally had him demonstrate all the propositions assigned for the class. The student demonstrated numerous propositions well, but finally he encountered a proposition that he could not successfully demonstrate. Mr. Scally snidely told his student that this was why he belonged with the bad students. Everyone in this math class chatted about this as a funny story, but no one published an article in the Moon about it, and either no student complained to the administration, or if someone did, then the administration clearly chose to do nothing to curb Mr. Scallyís practices. People instead joked about it, considering it nothing more than an amusing example of how Mr. Scally ran his math class, while ignoring how the student must have felt, especially after he tried so hard to prove himself to Mr. Scally.

Mr. Scally brusquely refused Mr. Scharbach, one of his seminar students, when he invited Mr. Scally to lunch; Mr. Scallyís response to the invitation was to sarcastically ask Mr. Scharbach if he wanted to be his friend. St. Johnís prides itself as a school where students have the opportunity to get to know tutors, and the school has instituted the ďtake a tutor to lunchĒ program to facilitate this process. Mr. Scally certainly has the right as an individual to choose to remain aloof from students, but he does not have to so hardheartedly refuse when a student approaches him. His actions demonstrate that he opposes the ideals of St. Johnís, which encourages students and tutors to seek out contact with each other outside class. Once again, other students at St. Johnís laughed at this story while ignoring the feelings of the student involved.

When Mr. Scally walked out of the don rag of Mr. Netter, another of the students in Mr. Scallyís seminar, while Mr. Netter was speaking, Mr. Scally failed to fulfill one of his basic duties as a tutor to listen to student response to his criticism. St. Johnís prides itself on its evaluation process being a discussion in which tutors and students listen to each other. Yet despite this public act of contempt in front of four other tutors, the tutors chose to acquiesce to Mr. Scallyís request to kick the student out of his seminar instead of reprimanding Mr. Scally. He was neither fired for failing to do his job, nor did he feel the need to apologize or explain his action to Mr. Netter. Many of Mr. Scallyís students, instead of being shocked, viewed Mr. Netter as lucky for being able to transfer into a different seminar.

A large number of Mr. Scallyís seminar students had individually asked Mr. Davis for permission to transfer out of Mr. Scallyís seminar; almost all were refused. If his seminar students had repeatedly come together to condemn Mr. Scally whenever he mocked his students instead of individually (and selfishly) seeking to get out of a poor seminar, perhaps Mr. Scally would have been forced to improve his demeanor during seminar. Maybe Mr. Scally wouldnít have been able to get away with what he did to Ms. Dayenny. It might have made a difference if Mr. Scallyís seminar partner, Mr. Bartok, who always struck me as a nice guy, had stood up for the students that Mr. Scally mistreated; he likely lacked the will to stand up to a tenured tutor. I wonder what would have happened if students had protested Mr. Scallyís false accusation against Ms. Dayenny when there was still time for it to have made a difference.

People obviously have many reasons for remaining silent: a fear of repercussions, a feeling of helplessness to change anything, a belief that it is not their business to interfere, a mistaken sense that to criticize any aspect of St. Johnís would be an act of disloyalty to the institution, or simply apathy. People laugh when they should try to change things because they see everyone else laughing and it is easier to do what everyone else is doing. Silence has been used to justify Mr. Scallyís behavior in particular and administration conduct in general. Supporters of the administration say that if few or no people complain, then that proves that the administration must be acting justly. Sadly, there are too many people like sophosanthropos who donít care as long as bad things happen only to other people. If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear, then it doesnít make a sound. But if no one complains about an injustice, does that make it just?
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A Certain Sad Case

9 Posts

Posted - 2006 May 25 :  09:57:34  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The freedom from academic accountability of the St. John's faculty permits the kind of arbitrariness attributed to Mr. Scally. However, students at St. John's are as free from academic accountability as the faculty. (St. John's has its own idiosyncratic forms of academic accountability, for both faculty and students, but since they do not permit comparison with the performance of faculty and students elsewhere, they do not add up to academic accountability as normally understood.) Since the students enjoy the same freedom from accountability as the faculty, the former don't complain too loudly about the latter. An apologist might claim that the overall situation offers faculty and students who have the capacity for responsibility and self-discipline a unique opportunity to develop those characteristics. However, with a prescribed curriculum and a mandatory interpretation of it (which is unadvertised as such and which few at St. John's have the breadth of knowledge to realize exists), St. John's provides faculty and students only disincentives to self-motivated learning.

Edited by - A Certain Sad Case on 2006 June 14 09:03:52
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Mr. Bunghole

1 Posts

Posted - 2006 August 04 :  00:29:26  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
A Certain Sad Case... what is this supposed "manditory interpretation" of the Great Books that most Johnnies apparently don't have the breadth of knowledge to know about? If you mean a genuine attempt to understand the books and their authors outside of any modern preconceptions, then perhaps we're on the same page.

As for Mr. Scally, I've never had him in a class (and probably never will, seeing as I intend to finish my St. John's education in Annapolis), but from what I've heard, he seems totally capable of doing all these things. Regarding the student in his freshman math class, if this happened last year, I have my suspicions as to who that is... and if I'm correct, that student was just as much of a problem in that class as Scally himself. It's still inexcusable what Scally did, though.
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A Certain Sad Case

9 Posts

Posted - 2006 August 15 :  23:49:00  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Mr. Bunghole (what a screen name)... That's not what I mean at all, but against my better judgment, I'll bite. And I'll do it in proper pseudo-Socratic fashion. Which better illuminates Euclid's proof of the Pythagorean theorem, Scott Buchanan's comparison of same with Alice's conversation with the Caterpillar or C.C. Zain's explication of same in terms of ancient Masonic symbolism? That is all you will get from me, sir, don't ask for more.

Edited by - A Certain Sad Case on 2006 August 16 14:06:48
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Frederick Douglass

9 Posts

Posted - 2006 September 12 :  12:14:47  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Everyone who knows Laleh or has been with her in class is aware that she is a brilliant and genuinely nice person. The quality of classes at St. Johnís is often determined by the quality of its students, so when Laleh was kicked out, the education of everyone in the class of 2007 who would have had her in class in the future suffered. If St. Johnís is serious about trying to provide a high quality education, the college needs to stop expelling its best students. No one knows for certain what motivated Mr. Scallyís absurd charge against her, but I suspect that the fact that she is Persian may have played a role. If a student as phenomenal as Laleh can be kicked out on the whim of an irrational tutor, then what hope of fair treatment do the rest of us have?
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