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Plagiarism Scandal Could Still Affect Smith's Nomination

Reader poll

Do you agree with the College Council of the College of the Bahamas' (COB) recommendation that Dr Rodney Smith be chosen as COB’s new president?

  • Yes, I agree with the recommendation. 41%
  • No, I do not agree with the recommendation. 59%

128 total votes.

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Staff Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

FORMER College of the Bahamas president Dr Rodney Smith’s plagiarism scandal remains a concern for the government despite his selection as top pick to head the institution.

Education Minister Jerome Fitzgerald said yesterday that a major concern was whether or not Dr Smith’s appointment would jeopardise the college’s eligibility for accreditation needed to transition to university status.

He remained tight-lipped over whether or not he would support the college council’s proposal to put the embattled academic back at the helm, but said he was ready to present his recommendation to Cabinet.

The decision had already been discussed by Cabinet; however, Mr Fitzgerald said he withheld his final opinion in an effort to ensure that there was widespread acceptance from stakeholders at the college and wider community.

Mr Fitzgerald said: “There was a few items that I wanted to get comfortable with before I gave the final presentation. I wanted to ensure first of all that within the college community, the lecturers, the students and the line staff, that there was general acceptance with regard to the recommendation. I think the three unions that are represented at the college have all voiced their support for the application.

“I also wanted to have a better understanding of what the public’s view was on it because this is a very important decision with regard to us moving to university status. I wanted to ensure that the public was to the point where they were generally supportive of it, and that they would support the efforts for us to move to university despite the fact that Dr Rodney Smith had resigned before because of the issue of plagiarism.”

He said: “I think to a greater extent the fact that the lecturers within the college have voiced their support, and they are the ones who really set the academic criteria as to whether or not that is sufficient of a sin to disqualify him. I think that was answered for us but the most important point for me was to ensure moving forward that the appointment of Dr Smith would not adversely impact our ability to receive the accreditation we need in order to move to university status.”

Mr Fitzgerald said he consulted with presidents from American colleges on the matter, but also gave significant consideration to public statements by retired Archbishop Drexel Gomez and prominent businessman Franklyn Wilson, former College of the Bahamas council chairman. Bishop Gomez and Mr Wilson were appointed to a special panel to review the matter: both recommended Dr Smith’s termination.

“I think the view locally from Bishop Gomez and from Franklyn Wilson was very instructive, because to a great extent they were the views and concerns of members of the public,” he said.

“There is no secret that you have a lot of intelligent people who have voiced their concerns and their support, and so you have a difference of opinion. But I think we’re now at the point where we are able to get a consensus and also to the point where I have talked to the persons who I need to talk to, and to be satisfied myself one way or the other with the recommendation that I am about to make.”

Comments

ThisIsOurs 6 years ago

Give me a break, the decision was already made months ago from the first rumour of the possible appointment. Another colossal waste of money so they could do what they want. These people must secretly hate the Bahamas.

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NewJersey 6 years ago

In addition to resigning from COB, he was forced to resign from Ramapo College up here after a vote of 'No Confidence'.....I reckon COB have a REAL winner ...LOL.... PATRICIA ALEX, STAFF WRITER The Record (Bergen County, NJ) 01-31-2004

Ramapo College president resigns -- Competence was issue with faculty By PATRICIA ALEX, STAFF WRITER Date: 01-31-2004, Saturday Section: NEWS Edtion: All Editions.=.Two Star B. Two Star P. One Star B Biographical: RODNEY D. SMITH

Ramapo College President Rodney D. Smith, under pressure from faculty who questioned his competence, resigned Friday after little more than two years on the job.

The resignation, announced at a routine faculty meeting, came as a surprise to many, even the president's critics.

"It was a situation where I had anticipated a lot more campus support than I got,'' Smith said in a telephone interview Friday afternoon. …

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afficianado 6 years ago

I'm a doctoral student researching renewable energy systems with seven publications. If I were to plagiarized I would be banned from publishing for 10 years from my professional society and my name would be recorded. C'mon Minister Fitzgerald we already have a failed educational system lets at least have some dignity. A Ph.D is not given-it's earned. And through earning this degree or any graduate degree academic misconduct is never tolerated on any level. If c.o.b wants to become university status this decision is not the way to go.

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Honestman 6 years ago

Why should Dr. Rodney Smith's past plagiarism be a concern for the Government? This should be the least of its worries given the scandal ridden first two years of this administration.

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asiseeit 6 years ago

Par for the course. In the Bahamas it is actually in your favor if you are a cheat, thief, drug runner, or any other sort of low life. We aim low in this nation and our standards are in the gutter.

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MaLambee 6 years ago

Seriously? What are we saying to our students, to our people in general and to the whole world? This is a very hard pill for me to swallow when I think of the ratification. Who ever is making this decision has no idea how this will affect the future of the country. What kind of example are we setting for future generation.. Really? do we truly believe that this man, based on what he has done should even be considered for such a position. Please note that these are things we feed out youth and expect them to swallow and digest.. I could hear parents saying now to their infant kids " it ok you can do that (cheat, plagiarize).. COB chief did it and after all ...look at where he is" Please don't do it. I have nothing personal about the man but what he has done, is not acceptable and he should not be rewarded in this manner. Remember our youth are watching...

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sansoucireader 6 years ago

Not only that, but how many of these decision makers even send their children to COB?

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sheeprunner12 6 years ago

Thats the real issue............ most of these elitist politicians making decisions about COB never attended the place ...........and their children. Its just like the public school system......... they make lots of noise but really dont care

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gbgal 6 years ago

We will be the laughing stock of the academic world ...locally and internationally! Proof that as a country we are not serious about things that matter.

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ThisIsOurs 6 years ago

It's truly amazing to me that out of twenty+ men in fancy suits with big salaries, not one sensible thought can arise. Why is it that after months of discussion, private and public, Jerome Fitzgerald is only now peeping up to say ~you may have wasted your time considering this man, I'm not sure the international community will accept him. Our accreditation at university level could be at risk??? You couldn't make this up. Shouldn't that statement have been made BEFORE they went through rounds and rounds of reviewing applications? BEFORE they took time out of their already busy schedule to focus on this? The Government of "Wasting Time and Money by Committee"

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micander 6 years ago

How come we don't publish the comments in favor of Dr. Smith? Why just the nay Sayers? Are we now distancing ourselves from objective journalism? Come on now we need to lay aside our biases when reporting.

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blackcat 6 years ago

lolwhat positive comments were there on Dr. Smith ?

If I'm not mistaken, an article from yesterday( 29/7) had some quotes in it about Mr. Smith's public humiliation and the fact that he stepped down proved he deserved a second chance, etc ,etc . Is that positive enough?

This is a real joke dred. Known plagiarist is reinstated into the country's college as president. Don't matter what positive comments there could be, there are standards to uphold and we are not setting good examples for our students.

I guess when I go to COB and plagiarise one of my papers, I can turn to Dr. Smith as an example and request leniency, I should be forgiven. Where does it end? As I always say TOO MUCH SLACKNESS!

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URD 6 years ago

IN FAVOR OF Dr. Smith???? Really.

Does it matter what we say in favor of a MURDERER....NO! The crime is already done. Same in his case.

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ThisIsOurs 6 years ago

You should go to his previous employer for unbiased comments, there's another article that states he was actually accused by the faculty of being unsuitable for the post of university president and asked to step down. I wonder if that was considered in this decision.

Maybe that's why they chose him, we seem to have an affinity for people who were asked to step down by former employers, BTC, VAT Comptroller...

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