Ex-TDSB director Chris Spence wants the University of Toronto to let him keep his PhD
It’s possible that Chris Spence has suffered enough. Hired as TDSB’s education director in 2009, his reform mandate came to an abrupt end last year after he was forced to admit to being a serial plagiarist, calling his wide body of published work into question. Now, it seems as though the University of Toronto is getting ready to layer a little insult on top of all the injury: the Star reports that the school will hold a hearing on July 15 to decide whether or not Spence gets to keep his PhD.
The reason for the hearing is that Spence’s doctoral thesis, like much of his other writing, appears to borrow entire passages from previously published work, without attribution. Spence’s lawyer, Selwyn Pieters, told the Star that he’ll be attempting to show that the lack of attribution was the fault of a person Spence hired to transcribe his written manuscript. Pieters also said that he’ll be attempting to get the whole case thrown out as an abuse of process, because U of T used plagiarism-checking software on the thesis without his client’s consent.
Even if Spence does manage to retain those three all-important letters on his resume, though, his Google results will forever be plagued by write-ups like this one, which in some ways is the worst and most fitting punishment of all.