A professor with the Hubei University of Technology who was suspended as department head for plagiarism has offered a lukewarm apology to the student whose project he is accused of copying, which he claims won an international Red Dot design award.
Shi Yuanwu was suspended as head of the department of industrial design with the School of Arts and Design on September 8 and ordered to apologize to his student Hu Sumei, who claims her former professor copied her graduation project.
"I've realized my negligence and I've already applied for a correction of authorship by adding Hu as one of the originators," Shi told the Global Times, while maintaining that he was the main contributor to the design, which he said was for a high-tech life raft.
"I participated in helping Hu come up with the conception of the main part of her design," Shi insisted.
A posting on the university's website, which has been deleted, claims Shi won the "best of the best 2012 award" at the Germany-based Red Dot Awards for design excellence. There is no mention of Shi or his design project titled "Life Triangle" on Red Dot's website.
"I received an email apology from the professor but it is far from satisfactory," Hu said, adding that Shi's claim that they co-designed the project is unacceptable, as he only offered some help on a few details. "My original graduation project was exhibited at school in 2009."
Hu said Shi only added some interior decorations and another device to the design.
Shi told the Global Times that the work he submitted differs from his student's in terms of function, structure and use.
"Winning the prize is good, but plagiarism is never acceptable," an administrative staffer surnamed Mao, who is the Party secretary of the school, told the Global Times.
"The academic board of the university will continue to investigate the details and facts, in an effort to avoid plagiarism in the future."
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