University of Jin Ling meeting room. An emergency meeting was held. The principal specifically requested for the dean of the computer science department to be present.
A lot of professors were in their laboratories when they were called to the meeting.
The topic of the meeting was simple. It was regarding one issue, which was the article floating around on Weibo: [On the topic of modern Chinese university academics: Starting from an undergraduate student’s thesis].
The article mentioned that an undergraduate student published nine computer science theses within a month. It used that as an entry point to criticize the academic atmosphere of higher education institutions in China and their lax journal review process. It also mentioned that the student was from the University of Jin Ling.
The article was basically roasting the University of Jin Ling.
During the meeting, an old computer science professor adjusted his glasses, stood up, and said nonchalantly, “I’ve read those nine theses and they were actually pretty well written. It’s quite impressive that an undergraduate student is able to write like this. He did try to submit quite a lot of theses, but his theses are more sophisticated than most other computer science theses. That Zhu Fangcai education commentator probably doesn’t know much of information science. Maybe we should communicate with him, make him admit his mistake, and ask him to remove the article.”
Why should someone be criticized for publishing too many theses?
The professor was very confused and he did not know why this meeting was necessary!
“Not realistic… This guy, Zhu Fangcai, knows what his level is at. Look at his titles. Education commentator, science writer. He’s operating in a different field than us,” said the secretary at the meeting table. He shook his head and said, “He’s looking for a conflict. He won’t negotiate with you.”
This situation was difficult to deal with.
The student did not do anything wrong and the university obviously could not expel the student. The issue was that the public was one-sided and they condemned the university.
The whole situation was ridiculous. A non-academic pointing fingers by using his own status and influence.
The school management staff did not understand the motivation.
Thank god this did not happen during university application times. Otherwise, the people at this meeting would be furious.
Regardless, the situation had seriously damaged the university’s reputation!
Principal Xu’s facial expression was bad. He was silent for half a minute before he said slowly, “Right now, it’s not important if the theses are of good quality. What’s important is that the community has questioned our integrity. Our top priority is to remove those suspicions and clarify the situation. On the other hand, we also have to figure out what exactly happened!”
They discussed for the entire afternoon and finally came up with two decisions.
On one hand, the school had to save their public reputation and to explain the academic value of these theses. They also had to send a cease and desist letter and to ask for an apology. On the other hand, they had to ask the deans to find out who Lu was and to figure out the exact situation.
Nine SCI theses in one month with one more thesis off from double digits. It did sound fishy. These professors from various departments all submitted substandard theses for financial gain, but they never did something this crazy!
However, at this moment, the various deans did not know that Lu Zhou actually submitted 10 theses. Instead of computer science, the last one was in mathematics…
[F*ck me, an undergraduate student publishing 9 SCI theses, must be a scam. Is it really that easy to publish?]
[… I think I can do it as well. (dog emoji)]
[Support Teacher Zhou! Fight against academic cancer! Correct this fraud! (fist) (fist)]
[A student claiming to be from MIT said that this would never happen in America. The journal must have been exploited and the review process was fake…]
[Sad! What kind of students are my university producing! What’s the use of writing theses? Can you turn the thesis into a nuclear bomb? Even an undergraduate student can publish so many, our country’s academia is hopeless…]
[You try writing nine theses in a month, bunch of keyboard warriors.]
F*ck, what the hell is this?
Not even one person with a normal IQ is on my side?
Twenty thousand shares, ten thousand comments, countless views!
Lu Zhou sat in an empty classroom and scrolled through Weibo. He did not have a solution.
No one wants to figure out the truth. They only wanted to believe what is in front of them.
According to Mr. Zhu, the theses were worthless, but how many people actually read them?
Lu Zhou wanted to get revenge on these accusations and registered a Weibo account. He sent out a comment and no one even liked it.
Maybe this is the consequence of having an unpopular Weibo account…
Lu Zhou meditated and calmed himself down. He turned off his phone and scratched his head.
He thought he had selected the easier mission. Never had he thought that he would get in this much trouble.
This was due to his negligence as well. If he had used an alias to publish the theses, no one would notice. It was too late now.
Suddenly, his phone rang.
It was from Professor Tang.
Lu Zhou had a confused expression on his face. There was no reason for Professor Tang to call him.
Is it because of the theses? Hopefully not, right?
Lu Zhou had a feeling of uncertainty as he picked up the phone.
“Little Zhou, what are you up to?”
Lu Zhou heard that his voice was calm and he relaxed as he replied, “I’m studying in the classroom, what’s up?”
Professor Tang paused for a second before continuing, “Come to my office if you’re free.”
Lu Zhou tidied up his laptop and books before heading to Professor Tang’s office.
He walked in and saw that Dean Lu from the mathematics department and Dean Zhang from the computer science department were also there.
Lu Zhou walked in and the three professors smiled. They glanced at each other subtly and used their body language to communicate. Finally, it was Professor Tang that sighed and said, “Lu Zhou, I have to ask you something.”
Lu Zhou replied, “Professor, please ask.”
Professor Tang continued, “That time period… After you submitted the maths thesis, did you submit to SCI again?”
Lu Zhou knew that he could not hide and so, he replied honestly, “Yeah I did.”
Dean Zhang looked at Dean Lu before saying helplessly, “I knew it. There are not that many students in our department with the first name Lu. None of them know how to write a thesis, much less submitting one.”
Professor Tang was worried. He asked wistfully, “You submitted a mathematics thesis right?”
“Yeah…” said Lu Zhou honestly as he nodded his head. He then added softly, “And other theses… Ones about artificial intelligence and geography information systems.”
Professor Tang’s eyes nearly popped out, “You… Why did you jump to computer science! Weren’t you researching Mersenne prime numbers just a few days ago?”
“I saw that the submission paid money. 150 yuan per thesis,” said Lu Zhou apologetically. He looked at Professor Tang and quietly said, “Then I separated my research into nine parts, and submitted it…”
Professor Tang: “…”
Dean Lu: “…”
Dean Zhang: “…”
Was there an issue?
There obviously was no issue. After all, the university encouraged students to submit theses. Submitting for money was a bit weird, but nothing bad…
However, this situation created an issue.
The office became dead silent. Dean Lu finally coughed and spoke in a kind tone, “Uh… Student Lu, did you write the thesis yourself?”
“Yeah, of course,” said Lu Zhou. He nodded his head as he continued, “I wrote them inside the library.”
He was not lying because buying knowledge from the system was not enough to write the theses. He still had to research the parts that he did not understand. At most, he just copied the calculation processes.
He read more than a hundred documents and countless books to write those theses.
They did not even have to look at the security cameras. They could just ask him some artificial intelligence or GIS system questions and Lu Zhou would be able to answer all of them.
Of course, if they asked him some difficult questions like the application of artificial intelligence in other fields, he might not have been able to answer it. However, he could still use general points to buy the answer on the spot. It just that it would be wasteful…
Dean Lu did not know what to say. It was Dean Zhang that stood up, smiled, and said, “Dean Lu didn’t mean anything by that. He was just surprised that you were so proficient in information science. I’ve seen your C language exam. 95 is very good. I obviously believe that you wrote the theses yourself… But some people don’t believe you and one even wrote an article about it. Have you been on Weibo?”
Actually, strictly speaking, most of the artificial intelligence was written in C++, which is quite different from C. The teacher only taught the basic syntax of C++ and did not dive deep in the language at all.
Dean Zhang knew that anyone that could write a thesis like that, would be proficient in C as well. A score of 95 satisfied his expectations.
“You’re talking about that article?” asked Lu Zhou.
“Yes,” said Dean Zhang. He stared at Lu Zhou and nodded, “You’ve read it?”
Lu Zhou replied, “I’ve read it.” Even though he was furious, he still acted calm on the outside. He shook his head and carelessly said, “Those articles have no brains. I refuse to step down to their level.”
In his heart, he actually wanted to stab the author.
“Student Lu, I have to correct you,” said Dean Lu. He looked at Lu Zhou seriously, “You’re not just one person. You’re a student from our school. You represent our school’s reputation! We’ll not allow any immoral students but we also will not allow anyone to tarnish our student’s reputation. I hope you can adjust your attitude and take this seriously.”
“But Dean Lu, I can’t do anything. I wrote to him and he did not reply,” said Lu Zhou impatiently.
“Actually, Dean Lu just wanted you to have a more positive attitude,” said Dean Zhang with a soothing tone. “Regarding the public reputation, our school will do a press conference. We hope that you can cooperate with us and speak up for yourself and the school. Is that okay?”
You guys just want me to speak up?
Easy, why didn’t you tell me that earlier?
Lu Zhou relaxed and nodded his head.