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Former professor of University of Southern Mindanao issues public apology for plagiarizing student’s thesis

Riceli C. Mendoza, a former faculty member of the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of Southern Mindanao in Kabacan, Cotabato, has issued a public apology for plagiarizing the thesis of one of her graduate students and advisees, Jemima M. Atok.

On May 6, the department’s official page posted the professor’s apology directly addressed to the aggrieved student and her family. Mendoza expressed remorse for the pain caused by her actions and acknowledged the wrongful appropriation of her former student’s work as her own.

“I am very sorry to publish your thesis in my name,” Mendoza wrote in the signed apology letter.

“I am truly sorry that I failed to recognize you as the author and the owner of the published paper/article. Instead, I claimed it as my own,” she continued.

apology post
Screengrab from Facebook

Undoubtedly, it has stirred widespread outrage within the academic community and social media users. Only four hours after the apology was released to the public, it has already garnered almost 10,000 reactions and 8,000 shares. Most people have raised concerns about academic integrity and ethical conduct, especially among educators.

plagiarism comment 4

plagiarism commentsplagiarism commentsSome users also remarked that the incident seemed familiar, stating that they had the same experience.

same experience

Meanwhile, many of Mendoza’s former students took to the comment section to express support and gratitude to her.

support comments

Given that USM is a well-established and a highly regarded university in the province, it is quite a surprise that such an incident has occurred. Ultimately, it prompts some to question: How many others might be engaging in such unethical behavior?

Above all, this is an alarming call for institutions to strengthen and reiterate measures to combat the grave offense.

As of this writing, Atok has yet to respond to the professor’s apology. It also remains unclear what repercussions Mendoza may face from the academic institution and higher authorities.


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