Combat Zone

Student expelled on plagarism charges: “It just makes me sick”

Junior Nyan Fosling was expelled from the University of Puget Sound earlier this week after a lengthy investigation involving serious allegations of plagiarism, academic dishonesty and intellectual property theft.
Reports began as early as six months ago, when a professor anonymously communicated with officials that one of their students was showing strange, clichéd behavior, without explaining to anyone what he was doing. After a long process of comparing and analyzing these behavioral patterns with notable published works, authorities officially charged Fosling with emulating several well-known characters, shaping his own life to imitate art without citing any sources.
While Fosling adamantly denies these charges, authorities and some professors believe his entire identity may be plagiarized.
“At a liberal arts institution like this, one of the most important things these students gain is a chance to broaden their intellectual horizons, explore their true selves, and become exposed to a vast swath of culture,” said Tonald Rhombus, the University’s president, “which is why we investigate this kind of plagiarism very seriously. Not only is passing other people’s personality characteristics as your own intellectually dishonest, it’s also not fair to the student responsible. They’re missing out on a really good shot at authenticity. I mean, their parents are paying out the butt to make sure their children can become who they are, I mean, who they’re going to be … already … you know what I mean. Become who they already were going to be before, but now for real and stuff. Like … you know. Anyway, it just makes me sick.”
According to Fosling, none of his sources were the exclusive portrayers of any of his behavior, and much of it, he claims, already existed in his psyche as essential human archetypes. He and some friends, however, did develop a desire yo change something in their lives.
“At first, it was supposed to be harmless,” Fosling told us. “Just exploring our own identities and trying to come into ourselves. Then one night Steven brought over a copy of The Maltese Falcon, and we were so moved by Humphrey Boggart’s character, so impressed by his calm fortitude, his certainty, his fearlessness in the face of danger, his dry wit and charm, and his firm albeit unconventional moral compass that we found ourselves thinking like him, acting like him. What would Sam Spade do in this situation? I guess that’s when it got a little out of hand.”
Soon, Fosling was expanding his influences, looking to a broader selection of detective fiction to find positive attributes. Soon after, friends of his began to note that he was showing signs of the pretentiousness of Hercule Poirot, the grandmotherly kindness of Miss Marple, the manic mood swings of Sherlock Holmes and agile grace of Dwayne Johnson.
“Then it started getting more intense,” said Fosling, describing his dark turns through Tarantino films, the existential angst of Dostoevsky, his LSD-ridden month of Leary, Kerouac and Kesey and the soul-crushing apathy of Beavis and Butthead.
Fosling began living out torrid love affairs, performing heroic feats of bravery, questioning his own meaning, going on road trips and attending high society art parties at which he always felt out of place, because even though he now belonged to this echelon, it was only through his writing that this social mobility occurred, and he found the whole thing both bemusing and frustratingly frivolous.
It all came to a climax last week, when Fosling, after finishing all of T.S. Eliot’s poetry, realized he couldn’t cultivate his personality any further and went into a hypnotic trance, alarming his roommate. Authorities found stacks of journals serving as solid evidence that these impersonations were premeditated and deliberate, and not just coincidences that he used all the exact same words as his sources.
If further charges are pressed, Fosling could pay up to $25,000 in fines and have to personally apologize to Jack Nicholson for just butchering the Joker.