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Academia, Love Me Back

BEING ACCUSED OF PLAGIARISM FOR WHO YOU ARE

MY HEART IS BREAKING FOR TIFFANY MARTINEZ

I’m sitting here, having just blogged about Tiffany Martinez’s experience and my anxiety is through the roof, I’m hit with waves of sadness and I want to throw up. This happened to me many, many years ago and the horror of the way it felt comes rushing back in a heart beat.

My first year of college was at the esteemed liberal arts college Evergreen State College, I was fresh out of high school and eager to learn. Evergreen isn’t like every school, for instance it doesn’t have grades, it has evaluations. The teacher writes about you, how you participated in her or his class and you write about the teacher.

The course I chose was called Search For Justice, one of my favorite books of all time was required reading for it, a book I still haul around, move after move. What Is Justice.

I’d been diagnosed with dyslexia in middle school and mostly it meant my spelling tests were pretty terrible. I’d ask how do you spell… and be told by my long suffering mother “Look it up!” It’s likely why I had to take Geometry twice.

In Search for Justice I learned to love Economics. In Women’s Studies were were reading about Mary Wollenstonecraft’s Rights of Women, the driving force in Mary Shelley’s life, her mother, the center of every child’s heart. I had faculty who went to Latin America in secret take photos of dictatorships. Professors who walked with Cesar Chavez.

And because I was dyslexic, I was accused of plagiarism. I was beyond confused when my women’s studies teacher told me that I could not possibly have written my papers because the work was brilliant and the errors were elementary.

In tears, I went to the student tutors who were at a loss. Maybe I should dumb down my paper? They could help me fix my spelling errors and errant grammar syntax’s but how did I write a poorer paper?

To this day you’ll see my ‘s like to shift around my work. Sometimes people peak when they mean to peek. Lucky them. I can’t submit anything without having someone proof read it. It took my husband three years to read my novel so I could submit it to the publisher who’d requested it.

What happened in that class? Did justice prevail? Nope. My Economics professor told me he really liked me but couldn’t help me, because the Women’s Studies teacher had tenure.

So I quit. Changed course directions.

When you see an error in something I post, and it’s driving you crazy, just know I can’t see it. If I could, I would have finished my Search For Justice.

Is there justice? I don’t know. Not in that class. My search will continue.

TIFFANY MARTÍNEZ

My name is Tiffany Martínez. As a McNair Fellow and student scholar, I’ve presented at national conferences in San Francisco, San Diego, and Miami. I have crafted a critical reflection piece that was published in a peer-reviewed journal managed by the Pell Institute for the Study of Higher Education and Council for Opportunity in Education. I have consistently juggled at least two jobs and maintained the status of a full-time student and Dean’s list recipient since my first year at Suffolk University. I have used this past summer to supervise a teen girls empower program and craft a thirty page intensive research project funded by the federal government. As a first generation college student, first generation U.S. citizen, and aspiring professor I have confronted a number of obstacles in order to earn every accomplishment and award I have accumulated. In the face of struggle, I have persevered and continuously produced…

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