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A second-year English student has admitted writing essays for students at other universities. He claims to have never written essays for a fellow York student.
An undercover investigation carried out by Nouse revealed that the student charged £120 per essay, roughly one quarter the price of an essay purchased through an internet site that specialises in such practices.
When approached via email by a Nouse reporter posing as a potential customer the student said he would be unable to do the essay although "I would definitely enjoy writing it, and I do love money, but within the same department I think the risks are too high."
When later confronted the student denied all allegations. However, when shown copies of the email correspondence he admitted having written essays for others.
The student denied there was anything wrong with what he was doing, saying "I am not committing academic misconduct... I don't care if they [other students] get found out." The student would not reveal exactly how many essays he had written.
The student, whose dealings are conducted mainly through word of mouth, denied that he is conducting a business. He called his practice "essay consultancy" despite disclosing that he charges a fee for students that are not his friends. "Why should I give my time and effort for free if I don't know them?" he said. He claimed to have never write essays for a York student.
The student who claimed to have "a reputation for being academic" said, "I don't have any respect for anyone that comes to university not being able to write essays."
YUSU President Anne-Marie Canning said: "I can't see any way in which the student could be disciplined by the University, the onus for plagiarism falls upon the student who submits the work as their own."
She continued: "I am worried, many students value the principles of academic excellence and meritocracy and this undermines such key features of academia."
Dr. Jim Watt, Examinations Officer of the English Department declined to comment.
Current University policy regarding academic misconduct solely concerns the student submitting the essay as their own rather than the individual that writes it.
Press Officer David Garner issued a statement from the University saying: "Any student submitting all or part of an essay purchased from, or edited by, an outside organisation would be committing serious academic misconduct, and could be subject to penalties including the loss of marks from the final degree, failing the degree outright or being sent down from the University."
In the academic years 2004-2007 there were 229 reported cases of academic misconduct including plagiarism, collusion, collaboration, falsifying data and cheating in exams.