Stealing School (2019) - full transcript

A week before her college graduation, April Chen, a Chinese-Canadian tech prodigy, is accused of plagiarism by an unrelenting teaching assistant and must fight to prove her innocence in a ... - stop by if you're interested in the nutritional composition of food
Do you understand?

Ms. Chen!

Oh... sorry?

I said, if ruled today

that you did indeed plagiarize
your last history essay

you will not have fulfilled
enough arts credits

to receive your Computer
Science degree next week.

So, Ms. Chen,

do you understand

the consequences
of today's hearing?

I understand.

Professor, the floor is yours.

Okay, um... well...

I am so sorry.

The streetcars were backed up
all the way on St. Clair.

- Have you started yet?
- No.

I was just about to inform

that I think it's best

that this case be led
by Mr. Ward here.

Yes. Thank you.

And who are you?

I'm Keith Ward.

I'm one of Prof. Thornton's
teaching assistants

And he is also my PhD advisor.

Why are you here?

Well, I'm the one

who originally
caught April cheating.

And, thus, we both decided
that it would be best

for me to present the case
against her here today.

What is this, Alan?

Well, as you'll see, Richard,

Keith has a history
with the student in question.


Just to be clear,

does the professor even really
believe April cheated?

Of course he believes it.
We both believe it.

I'd like him to answer
for himself.

I'm sorry, who are you?

Micah Shaw, student advocacy.

Student advocacy?

Of course you'd get a lawyer.

Actually, I was assigned
to April's case

- and in the interest of...
- Go ahead.

I know I didn't do anything
wrong, so just...

go ahead. Whoever.

Mr. Ward, it would appear
the floor is yours.

Okay. Thank you.

I'd like to start off

by thanking the tribunal
for being here today.

I'm sure there are places that
you would rather be on a Friday.

But, frankly, I'll take any
excuse I can get

to get away
from my thesis.

I'll begin by
showing how April Chen

has shown a history
of deceit and disrespect

towards myself and
this university.

You see, this all began
in our Poli Sci 100 class.

April, hi.

Please, have a seat.

So, this is your second
year here at DuPont, correct?


And where are you from?

Uh, my family moved here
from China when I was 9.

What part of China?

It wasn't a major city.

I might know it.

It's called Harbin.

It's in the north.

Yeah, I... I think
I've heard of it.

The north,
right, yes, um...

So, your paper.


as you can see here, the...

Oh, uh...

I got it.

Thank you.

Trying to quit, you know?

Yeah, know. I gave up
on that a while ago.


No. Trying to quit.

Your paper.

You see these two passages?

See that they're the same?

Everything else in your
paper is cited,

so do you think maybe you just
forgot to cite this paragraph?

Will I be penalized?

- I'll let you off this time.
- Okay.

But keep an eye on it in
the future, all right?


I appreciate you coming in.

No problem.

Okay. So you let her go?

Yes, but that is besides
the point...

Why didn't you report this
to Prof. Thornton?

With all due respect,
I don't think people like you...

I don't think that those
outside of the teaching faculty

understand what it's like
for us TAs.

You see, there's just so many
students for us to deal with

and I can't waste
Prof. Thornton's time

with each and
every minor infraction.

Oh, sorry.


this takes us to the second
time I met with April.


April. Have a seat.

Can you please tell me
in your own words,

what academic
integrity means to you?

Oh, um...

I guess it means
being original

and, um, citing
your sources?

The reason I ask is
because I'm wondering if this

is in line
with what you just said.

This is your paper

and this is a paper that was
published just last year.

Do you notice anything?

'Cause aside from a few
minor cosmetic changes,

these two opening paragraphs
are essentially identical.

I've never seen that
other essay before.

Listen, I'm just trying
to find out if this

supports your own definition
of academic integrity.

I'm not a cheater.


If that's how you feel,
then I have no choice

but to hand this off
to Prof. Thornton.

And he can deal with you.


I'm very
disappointed in you.

I then handed that paper over
to Prof. Thornton.


Uh, okay, yeah.

I, uh, questioned Ms. Chen
on the details of her essay,

and I concluded that the
similarities between the papers

were just a mere coincidence.

I didn't feel it was necessary

to bring that to the tribunal
at that time.

Because you believed
that she didn't cheat?

Yes, that became apparent
when I spoke with her.

Although, I don't blame Keith

for bringing this matter
to my attention.

It was an honest mistake.

Alan, your
teaching assistant here

seems to be trying to
establish a pattern of deceit.

Do you feel perhaps you were
deceived in this case?

No, I think I know a liar
when I see one, Richard.

Huh. You sure about that?

Yeah. I'm sure.

Professor, I have to ask,

do you think that we're all here
today because of another

what you might call
"honest mistake"?


I believe that April's
third and final essay...

The one that
we're judging here today.

Yes, that essay
was, indeed, plagiarized.

Which brings me...

Why don't we all quickly
take a break?

You think we could
get the AC on?

Yes, please.

They must have
shut it off for the summer.

I'll see if I can
get someone in.

You judge many of these?

Nah, not really.

If you're from
student advocacy,

that means you're still
in law school, right?

Yeah, applying to firms soon

and they love this kind of shit
on a resumé.

Oh. See, I would have thought
you were doing this

just for the satisfaction of
helping out the less fortunate.

You know how much
law school costs?

I am the less fortunate.

That you?

Oh, yeah. It's nothing.

Josh, I'm right here.

You can't keep pretending

you don't notice me.

You write for a student
newspaper, Russ.

No one notices you.

Tell me about
this tribunal

about a female
computer science student?

I didn't know there
were any girls in CS.

That's a bit

It's just the facts.

Aren't they a fifth of your

That's a shortage.

Can't force women to
major in Comp Sci.

Like we can't force you
to major in something useful.

What's that supposed
to mean?

We don't need
any more liberal artists.

We need more plumbers.

Thanks for the
career advice.

You're already
good at shovelling shit...

I know that,
as the department rep,

you sit on those tribunals.

I can't talk
about my tribunal duties.

Well, here's what I know
so far...

it's a girl and I hear that
she's Asian.

Well, Asians, those we don't
have a shortage of.

Please forget I said that.

Bro, what do you take me for?
It's forgotten.

So tell me about this tribunal.

Okay, okay.

Her name's April Chen.

She created a publishing

that got bought out
by Snakeskin.

There's already a job waiting
for her in the valley.

Also, it doesn't hurt that
she's, you know...


Oh, a hot female computer
science star.

In our world, we call that
a unicorn. So are we good?

- Yeah.
- Okay.

I just need one more
thing from you.


Okay. Thank you.

Should be
cooling off shortly.

First time?


I was just promoted
to co-chair of the department.

However, this? This was not
in the job description.

Seems like you and Alan
know each other well.

Yeah, we went to grad
school together.

Quite the long friendship.

Ah, I wouldn't say
we're friends.

Hey. Just so you know,

you shouldn't feel obligated
to talk.

I mean, you know,
if you don't want to.

Why wouldn't I talk?

Because that's
kind of my job.

I'm here so you don't have to
go through this thing alone.

Can you please stop coddling me?

I'm not some kind of victim.
I'm just innocent, okay?


Typical administrative

She has no idea what it
means to be an academic.

This pantomime of a court is
what you asked for, Keith.

And you got it.

Sir, I really think we should
be working together on this...

Together? You went
behind my back.

Only because there wasn't
any time.

If I didn't petition
for this tribunal,

- she would have graduated.
- Right, right.

And you think it was right

to drag me into your little
crusade? Hm?

When I got the email
from Judge Judy over there

approving this hearing,

I was too embarrassed
to tell her

I didn't know what she was
talking about.

All because you didn't go
through the proper channels.

I heard back from Belgrade
this morning.


Oh, shit.

You just have to keep applying

until you find a university
that's the right fit.

You'll get hired eventually.


I find it helps with
the cravings.

I'm good.

Mr. Ward?
Ready when you are.

The reason that we are all
here today

is because of April Chen's
final essay

for International History 300.

This paper examines the role
that the atomic bomb played

in Japan's surrender
of World War II.

The essay offers
a succinct analysis

of the Hasegawa interpretation

which posits that the Japanese
decision to surrender

was not because of the two
nuclear bombs dropped on them.

No. The real reason
that they surrendered

was because of
a little-known pact

with the Soviets
that fell through.

Now, this theory
is controversial because...

You know what? Ms. Chen?

Would you like to expound
further on the subject?


The interpretation
is controversial

because it basically suggests
that after the war,

Japan elicited the sympathy
of the international community

by portraying itself
as the victim of an atrocity,

and used it to overshadow
their role

as the violent aggressors
they were earlier in the war,

such as during
the rape of Nanking.

And Pearl Harbor, of course.

Yes, that is virtually
identical wording

as to what is
in this essay right here.

So, you're gonna accuse me
of plagiarizing myself...?

Well, only someone
who's worried

about being caught
for plagiarism

would go through the effort

of memorizing a paper.

So I know my topic too well.

No, you know it too precisely.

You see, it doesn't matter.

If you question April,

she will regurgitate
the words for you

like some kind of robot.

Now, if I may, I would like
to call my first witness.

Mr. Ward,
while I don't have any issue

with you calling
any witnesses,

this isn't a court of law.

We can't exactly
put people under oath.

We would like
to call in witnesses

to testify on April's
behalf, as well.

You can't.

We are within our right
to question...


We're here to prove that
plagiarism has occurred.

That's why we're all here.

We're not here so that
she can bring in her people

to prove that such a thing
did not occur.

This is my case to prove.

Uh, if I may?

I think we should let the
student defend herself

in whatever way she wants.

I mean, that just seems fair.

I'm inclined to agree.

We have to try and treat this
like a real court room,

even if it is
just a simulation of one.

Or a simulacrum.


The precise term for what we're
doing here is a simulacrum.

Are you quite finished?

Let's get on
with it then.


Hi, Irene!

So, uh, how was your first day?

Did you meet everyone or...?

Almost, I think.

I just finished speaking

with the Vice-Provost
to Academic, Theresa?

Actually, it's "Ter-essa".

She's the Vice-President
of Faculty and Academic Life.

Oh, I thought you were the VP
of Faculty and Academic Life.

No, I'm the Assistant

of the Office
of Academic Operations.

And that's separate from

the Vice-President
of Students and...

Undergraduate Education,
yeah. That's right.

Okay, so, as
Academic Integrity Officer,

I'm under the purview of...

That would be my supervisor,

the Vice-President and Provost
of DuPont.

Oh. I see.

So are you my boss
or am I yours?

Well, technically,
I'm your superior.

Oh, my gosh! I know, I was...

Never mind.

So, I'm having a small dinner
party next week

with some potential donors

and I think it would be
a good idea if you'd be there.

Oh! I'd love that.

We'll be spotlighting the new
recruitment initiatives in Asia.

Great. I'll look over
the material.

No, you don't need
to look over the materials.

What's important for you
to understand

is that it's a sensitive time

to be marketing Western
education in that region.

There's a growing perception
that Canadian schools

are as unaccommodating to
foreigners as the American ones.

But our message is clear:
we're not like the Americans.

We're better than them.

Yes. We are.

You know,
the little twerp's right.

Technically, we are
engaging in a simulacrum.

Which doesn't make him any less
of a very real little shit.

I'm sorry.
May I please take this call?

Mr. Ward?

My witness just got off
the streetcar

so he's gonna be
another five minutes.

- Make it quick, Ms. Chen.
- Thanks.

Hi, Mum!

How was your flight?


I'm at lunch with friends.

Uh, yeah.

Okay. Bye, Mum.

I have a proposition for you.

We can end this here and now.

If you just admit what you did
to me,

I'll let you re-write the essay
and I'll mark it next week.

So, I'll miss the ceremony?

Yeah, but who cares?
They'll mail you your degree.

I think you're a good kid.

You made a mistake
and I can forgive you.

As long as you just admit
what you did and apologize.



I'm not a cheater.

You sure you want all those
people in there

to find out
who you really are?

We don't need to go through
all of that. Do we?

I'm okay with who I really am.

Are you?

Tell us your name
and what you do.

Ian Reed. I'm a Poli Sci
grad student

and teaching assistant
here at DuPont.

And what are you
currently working on?

My dissertation is
preliminarily titled

"Peace, Order and Good Gnocchi:

Understanding Quebec's
Italian Diaspora."

And when you're marking
students, can you tell us

how you detect if a paper's
been plagiarized?


The main thing
is inconsistencies

within the essay.

What do you mean
by "inconsistencies"?

Well, for example,

if the first and last paragraph
of an essay is poorly written,

but the middle section is
perfect, that's a red flag.

Hm. What else?

If the student's previous work
was sloppy

but then suddenly the writing
is pristine...

that's another red flag.

Thank you. That's all I have.

I'd like to ask
a few questions.

Uh, just a moment.

I'm the one

that's supposed to be asking
the questions.

I want to do it myself.

That's not how
this works.

I don't care.

Stop me if I start
doing something stupid.

I'm trying to.

So, are you saying

that any time someone's
writing gets better,

that means they're cheating?

No, of course not.

Students can improve, right?

I mean, isn't that
the whole point here?

Certain types of students
do improve, yes.

Okay. Um, what types are those?

They tend to ask a lot
of questions during class,

email me about assignments,
come to office hours.

The type to hire
a writing coach?

Yes, of course.

I have some experience
in that area.

You've been a writing coach.

I am now. Yes.

But not for my students,
of course.

But you did help students
write their essays?

Not exactly, no.
I wouldn't say that.

Do you think that you are kind
of helping students cheat?

Wha... Of course not.
I would never do that.

But they are paying you to help
make their essays better, right?

No, that's not... I mean, yes,
I will give them notes.

But that doesn't mean I'm
their... their ghost writer

or anything like that.

I would charge them way, way
more if that were the case.

Which it never will be,

because I would never do
that sort of thing.

No matter how much they paid me.

Ms. Chen, is there a point
to this line of inquiry?

Oh, I just wanted to show that
getting writing help

isn't the same as cheating.

So, established. Anything else?

Yes! I'd like to call
my first witness.

My name is Mark Lin and I was
April's writing coach.

What kinds of things
did you teach me?

Essay structure,
thesis statement,

crafting supporting
paragraphs, citation...

The essentials, basically.

Thank you.

Are you in academia?

I'm a former grad student,

Uh, poli sci.

What were you working on?

Uh, my thesis was titled
"You Sunk My Battleship:

A Game Theoretical Approach
to Right of War Protocols

Between American Pleasurecraft
and Maritime Piracy."

I never finished it.

Not everyone finishes.

How long did you
tutor April for?

A few months.

That doesn't seem like
nearly enough time

to teach the craft
of essay writing, does it?

Do you think you significantly
improved her writing skills?

Well, I don't know
what you mean "significantly".

I mean that her writing skills
changed significantly

for the better.

Have you seen her past work?

No, I haven't.

Well, I have.

Her previous two essays
were B-minus at best.

And that's even with the help

- of her plagiarizing them, as well.
- Objection!

Yep, okay. Thank you.

What I'm trying to say
is that you don't know

if you helped her
in the slightest, do you?

I'm sure I helped her.

I mean, I taught her all the
essay structures and everything.

In fact...

you don't know if you taught
her anything at all, do you?

Have you ever written
an essay for money?


Are you now or are you ever
been a writer for hire?


Tutoring's not enough money
to live off,

what else are you doing?


- Just this.
- Where is this going?

You couldn't get a job
as a grad school dropout,

and you needed money, right?

And then when April hired you
to be her tutor,

you saw that
she was struggling

and you offered to write her
entire essay for.

- Didn't you? Didn't you?!
- I write erotic fan fiction!


I have a site where
people donate to me

to write erotic stories about
Korean popstars or...

you know...

from books and cartoons.


What is the name of your site?

I think we've seen enough.

Mr. Ward?

Nothing further.



Yes, please.

I think I need
to go bleach my brain.

- Josh, buddy!
- You gotta stop calling me in there.

I tried texting.

Yeah, I know.
I'm a little busy.

Yeah, about that.

Take the phone
out of your pocket

and put it on the table.

I can't hear shit.

No, no way.

That's gonna
look too suspicious.

Don't be paranoid.

No one's
gonna know I'm listening.

Alright, fine.

Just stop texting me.

Wait, wait, wait.

I need to know who
the dean's office sent over.

Or I could just write the story

about how you feel
there are too many Asians

in the CS department.

All I said was we don't
have a shortage of Asians...

in the department.

How do you think
that's gonna play

with your Asian colleagues?

Of which there are
many, apparently.

Deborah Lewis.

Her name's Deborah Lewis.


Keep the phone on the table.



If I could just get by...?

- Oh. Yeah, sorry.
- Alright.

Hey, I wanted to say thanks for
sticking up for us back there.


Yeah, look,
you guys should be able

to have your own witnesses.

That's like a

Is it always run like this?

Like what?

Like you guys are just making
up the rules as you go along.


That is messed up, man.

Yeah. Ya know...

Something on your mind, Richard?

Do you remember the last time
you spoke to me, Alan?

- Uh, 10 minutes ago?
- No.

It was the day
you looked me in my eyes

and you lied
about how it wasn't you

who sent that
letter to the tenure committee.

You remember that
letter, don't you?

The one that recommended
they deny me my tenure?

Well, I guess I never got
a chance to congratulate you...

- But no thanks to you.
- ...on your tenure.

I thought we were friends.

I am your friend, Richard.

Now, please,
if you'll excuse me?

No, you're not.

Friends don't snub friends

and they certainly don't try
to de-rail their careers.

Are you jealous of my work,
Alan? Is that it?

Look at you, Richard.

You're a grown man holding me
hostage in a bathroom.

You think maybe there might be
someone else in the department

who thinks you're a little
unfit for tenure?

It wasn't me.

Now, excuse me.

Richard, for your own
sake, let it go.

Goodness, he looks
worse for wear.


You'd think he was
the one on trial.

I think I've figured out
what his crime is.

The fashion police arrested him
for looking like a total cliché.

My name is Kelly Nakashima

and I've been April's roommate
for two years.

Did you see me working
on this essay?

Yeah, for sure.

You were stressed out for,
like, half the semester.

Okay. Thank you.

Did you see any history
books next to April?

I dunno. Probably.

Did she talk to you at
all about her essay?


Did you proofread any of her
paper off her computer screen?



you don't know that she was
working on my assignment.

She could have been stressed
about anything.

I guess so.

She complained
a lot about her history class

so I just figured that's
what was stressing her out.

What did she complain about?

She said her TA was a dick.

Thank you. You may go.


You said April never discussed
her essay with you.

That's right.

So you have no idea
what it's about.

No idea.

Your last name is Nakashima.

That's Japanese, right?

My dad's Japanese.
My mum's from the Prairies.

If your friend was writing
a paper about your heritage,

wouldn't she tell you
about it?

I was born in Saskatchewan.

Ms. Nakashima, why did Japan
surrender in World War II?


The unconditional surrender.

Why did your people give in?

Come on. Think.

Mr. Ward?

Why? Why did they surrender?

Because they got bombed?!

I mean, right?!

According to April's paper,

the real reason

that Japan
surrendered World War II

was because of the neutrality
pact with the Soviets,

not because of the bomb.

So what?

Well, if April wrote this,

then why wouldn't she educate
her Japanese friend

on this bold, new interpretation
of her people's history?

Because she didn't write this.

No, it's because it doesn't
affect her life in any way.

Does it?

I'm in accounting!

Thank you. You may go.

You need a
fucking therapist.

My name is Tim Mistry

and I have taught you in the
Computer Science department

your entire undergrad.

How would you describe
me, as a student?

You've been offered a position
in Silicon Valley.

I think that
speaks for itself.

Uh, April created a pretty

publishing platform
that optimizes insets...

Sorry, can we move on?

She's allowed to be good
at computers.

I'm not contesting that.

Have you ever suspected
me of cheating?

No. Your work's too
original for that.

Are you comparing writing
code to real writing?


Coding, like any language,

can be composed with elegance,
efficiency and style.

Do you think coding skills
can translate over

to essay-writing skills?

I believe they can.

Great, thank you.


Has April's coding
always been good?


Since her first
assignment for you?

As I recall, yes.

So if coding skills
translate to writing skills,

the quality of her writing
should be just as consistent

as the quality of her coding.

Is that right?

I guess you could say that.

Well, that's strange.

Because the quality
of her writing

only got better
in the last semester.

How do you explain that?

Perhaps she only started trying
in your classes recently.

And why wouldn't
she try in my classes?

I can't speak for my students.

Well, maybe you should
try harder.

- Excuse me?
- Mr. Ward.

Watch your tone.

Are you aware

that your
students need to take credits

outside of
the Computer Sciences department

in order to graduate?

And that those classes
are generally in the Humanities?

Of course.

The university mandates
a well-rounded education.

Do you think that students
like her

resent having to take
those classes

because they feel
that they are useless?

Again, I don't speak
for my students.

Sure. Sure.

Professor... do you think that
a liberal arts education

is useless?

The liberal arts don't provide
much value to the world.

Certainly not compared
to what we do.

Professor, sorry to interrupt.

Have you worked in
Silicon Valley?

Yes, I have.

You familiar with
the tech culture there?

Very much so.

I wasn't done questioning
the witness.

Do you think April
would get hired

even if she didn't have
a university degree?


Of course she would.

April will get a job...

no matter what.

Without a degree?

Silicon Valley
is run by drop-outs.

At the end of the day,

the credentials a student
earns here?

No substitute for raw talent.

one more question.

Why would
a computer science student

bother cheating on
a meaningless history assignment

when she already has
a job waiting for her?

She wouldn't.

Thank you, Professor.

Irene, hello.

Deborah, my office
just received an email

from a reporter
at the DuPont Gazette.

Oh, okay.

He asked for a comment on
an ongoing academic tribunal

racially targeting students
of Asian descent.


Plus, they asked for you
by name,

and your name is
not on the site yet.

I think somebody in that room
is talking to the press.

Your tribunal...

is it, in fact,
an Asian student?


If this story comes out

and looks even a little

I can't
fathom the consequences.

Should I postpone?

No, no. That'll look
like we're stalling.

Just get the job done

and be careful in there.

People are listening.

You know, your job's
not gonna save you.

Just because you don't need
to pass my class

that doesn't make
you innocent.

You know, there's been

I've been wondering all day.

What exactly are you getting
out of all of this?

I'm upholding the integrity
of this school.

What are you
getting out of this?

I want to clear my name.

I'm not gonna let you call me
a cheater in front of everyone,

and get away with it.

You still care what
people think?

You're just...

What do you guys call it,
"saving face"?

That's pathetic.

Hi, Mum.

Okay, Mum.
I'm glad everyone's landed

but I really have to go.

I'm still with my friends
right now, okay?

Mom, I don't care.

For the last time,
I can't talk.

I really have to go
right now, okay?

Darling, you sound not so good.

Is everything okay?

Yeah. Everything's fine.


Okay, well, thank you very much.

Keith, the way you are treating
that girl is unconscionable.

I'm sorry you feel
that way, sir...

Now, I'm going to go back
in there

and I'm gonna withdraw
our complaint

before any more people are
humiliated in your little farce.


you don't have
the authority to do that.

It's my class, Keith.

Yes, but... both of our names
are on the complaint,

so we would both need to be
in agreement

for it to be withdrawn.

It'll be over soon.


Why are you trying
to drop the case?

This trial's a waste
of our time.

She one of your indiscretions,

You did always have
a type in grad school.


I'm not gonna
listen to this.

It's come to light
that certain details

about today's hearing have made
their way out of the room.

Therefore, I'm going to need

to hand over their

Mr. Bertier?

Would you please collect
everyone's phones?

Uh huh.

Can you tell use your name
and scholarly background?

My name is Elisha Sinclair.

I've completed a PhD
in political science

and my dissertation is entitled

"All Quiet on the Best
Western Front:

Hotel Economies, Black Markets
and Jihadist Financing

in a Global World."

And what is your current
line of work?

I'm an essay writer.

You mean that you write
original essays

that students
pass off as their own?


Can you walk us through
your process?


Before I start,
I ask my clients

for copies of
their old essays for reference.

So that I can match the writing
quality of their previous work

to prevent arousing suspicion.

And do you take any
other precautions?

Specifically concerning
the digital files.

Yeah, well, as you know,

digital files are required
to be submitted

so that they can be run through

the school's plagiarism
detection software.

But what people don't know,

is that each digital file
carries with it

an invisible signature
of the author in its metadata.

So, to make sure my clients
don't get caught,

I wipe that metadata
before I hand the files over.

And if you didn't erase
the metadata?

Then it would show the name
of the true author of the essay.

Here is the metadata

for the three essays April
has submitted to me.

As you can see, her name
appears on the first two.

But with the third essay,

the one we are discussing
here today,

the metadata appears blank.

As if someone's erased it.

I recently scrubbed
my personal information

from my computer
for privacy reasons.

Well, I think the files
speak for themselves.

Okay, then, I'm gonna go.

Why do you do this?

Pardon me?

Why do you help
students cheat?

Do you just need the money?

No, I don't need the money.

I help students cheat because
you cheat them.

We're both shilling overpriced
pieces of paper

to kids too dumb
to know any better.

Yours just happens to say
"diploma" at the top.

I'd like to question
Professor Thornton.

- What?
- Wha...?

No, no. I didn't even
mark the damn thing.

Unfortunately, I don't have
the authority

to force Professor
Thornton to be questioned.

Just like I can't force you to
be questioned either, Ms. Chen.

- Oh, I don't mind!
- Whoa! No, wait.

I can't let the happen.

I bet you'd like to ask me
some questions, wouldn't you?

- You ready to testify?
- Absolutely not.

I have nothing to hide.

I need a moment with my client.




I am not letting you do this.

You're the accused.

You're not supposed
to be testifying.

Do you think anyone
in there cares

about how things
are supposed to go?

I can handle myself.

He's not
as smart as he thinks he is.

Neither are you! No!

No way. If you go up there,
I will leave in protest.

Is that what you want?

No, I don't want you
to leave in protest.

Okay, then.

You should leave because
you're fired.

You can't fire me.

What are you gonna do?
Represent me against my will?

Is that how things are
supposed to work?

Go home.

Keith, I need you to trust
me on this, okay?

I will not be questioned
by that girl.

Sir, with all due respect,

I don't understand why
you won't testify...

Because, Keith!

Look, something happened
that day

when she came to my office.

What happened?


I've never seen that
other essay before.

Where's your family from, April?

They're from Harbin.

Harbin? You ever to been
to the ice festival?

Yeah. As a kid.

I went there a few years back.
It was breathtaking.

Why don't I make you a

How about to make up for this,

you come and take one
of my summer courses

and you'll get
the same credit?

Classes are much more relaxed.

It's basically just hangin' out.

I'm actually planning to go
visit my family this summer.


Do you have any photos
from Harbin?



- Yeah, this is Zhaolin Park.
- Hm.

- Pretty windy that day.
- Uh huh.

Kid just ran up
and photo-bombed me.

Oh, you'll have to give me
advice on where to go.


Here. I'm gonna text myself
so you have my number.


- There.
- Thanks.

Now, getting back to
the matter at hand here.

When you look at these,

do you see why
I had to bring you in here?

Yeah, I think I do.

I mean, it seems
innocent enough.

With these kinds of mistakes,

sometimes you're not even aware

that what you're doing is wrong
even as you're during it.

- You know what I mean?
- Uh huh.

That's me.

Why would you write this?

Okay, I think I can see a way
to mark this as-is

and not take
this situation any further.

After all, this is just
a one-off, right?

- Won't happen again.
- Good.

I'm glad we understand
each other.

Okay, wait.

It's your word
against hers.

So they can't...

If she shows
that text to anyone,

there's gonna be an inquiry.

It'll be a witch-hunt
like at Concordia

and I will
not be crucified...

No, it won't because there
were multiple women

at Concordia...

How many others?

Oh, grow up.

They were all adults.

They know
what they were doing, okay?

At least tell me
they weren't all Asian.


You're gonna be buried
for this.

They're gonna bury you,

I'm sorry, Keith.

You're sorry?

I won't be able to get another
supervisor after this.

I won't be able to
finish my thesis.

Which means that my entire
time here was worthless!

Look, drop the case and you
don't have to worry about it.

Drop the case.


If we cover this up that makes
us just as bad as her.

I'm not like her.

And I'm not like you.

I'll be fired.

You're finished either way.

I'm removing you
as my supervisor

and I'm going
to the department myself

to tell them
about your indiscretions.

Why would you do that?

Because you don't deserve
what you have.

I'll give you a chance
to retire on Monday.

But if you don't quit by then,

I have no choice
but to report you.

You're destroying your life.

No, Alan. You already did that.


Keith, wait!


- What?
- I, uh...

You know what?

I'm done with this place.

You win, Richard.

You feel good about yourself?

I can't say I feel
much of anything right now.


I wanna say that I forgive you
for what you did to me.

You forgive me?

Oh. That's big of you.

Do you know what, Richard?

I don't want your forgiveness,
you fucking pompous prick.

Do you know why I sent
that letter? Hm?

Because you're an embarrassment
to our field.

And you do not deserve
to be called my peer!


Take care of yourself.

- Hello?
- Hello, Ms. Lewis.

My name is Peter Hanson

and I'm the VP
and Provost of DuPont.

One moment, please.

Hi, sorry about that.

I'm in the middle of a tribunal.

Have you spoken with Irene?

Actually, Ms. McDonnell
has been placed on leave.

You'll be liaising
with me from now on.

We're working on trying
to get ahead of this story

and we need
your assistance.

Am I gonna be fired?

If you can ensure
that the final verdict

won't be, uh, problematic

that would be helpful
to both the university

and to yourself.

Do you understand?


What, man?

What, are you leaving?
What's going on?

She fired me.


Can she even do that?

She's out of control

and I can't protect her
from herself any more.

You need to look out
for her in there.



Well, what am I supposed to do?

It's not that complicated.

Where's Mr. Shaw?

He's gone.


And where's
Professor Thornton?

He won't be
joining us but...

I'm willing
to testify in his place

if April's still
willing to honour our deal.

Yeah. Okay.

You know what?

Okay, fine. Let's finish this.

- So...
- Keith Ward.

Poli sci PhD student.

Working title of my
thesis is "Chasing Anarchy:

Understanding Subaltern

- in the Spanish Civil War"...
- Keith.

How many students have you
taken to an academic tribunal?

You're the first.

So you've never suspected
anyone else of cheating before.

Well, I have but
they all confessed

when I confronted them.

Were they punished?

Of course.

grade reductions...

Did you fail them?


Deny them their degree?


Yet you are
trying to do

both those things to me.


Because I've never met
a student as deceitful as you.


You must not like me very much.

I like all my students...
as long as they're honest.

Is there something about me,

that makes you
think I'm not an honest person?



It was your lack of remorse.

What do you mean?

When you were first caught
for cheating...

I let you off
and you just took it and left.

You weren't even sorry
for what you did.

And I knew you'd try
and cheat again.

You have no respect.

No gratitude.

So that's why you dragged
all of us here today.


Mr. Ward...

let me just take this
opportunity to say that...

I'm so sorry

that two years ago
I forgot to say

I'm so sorry.

Are you finished?

Do you resent being forced
to take my classes?

Well, I don't think I should
have to pay for them.

Why not?

Because I didn't come here
to learn how to write papers

no one will ever read.

Then why did you come here?

To build stuff.
That's what people like me do.

We go out and build the world

while people like you just sit
around and discuss it.

Do you hate me, April?

You're not
interesting enough to hate.


Now, you don't need a degree

in order to be employed
in your field.

Is that correct?

That's what I'm told.

Then I guess that begs
the question,

why even bother cheating
in the first place?


what if, even though you
don't need a degree,

you desperately do need
to graduate?

Do have any guests attending
the graduation ceremony?

Anyone flying in?

Some family.

Some family?

See, I called the head
of the grad committee

and they said you have 12 seats
reserved for your family.

Thank you very much.


And they've come from quite
a ways away, haven't they?

How embarrassing would it be

for you to have to explain
to them

that they flew all the way here
for nothing?

Admit it.

You're only here covering up
for cheating

because you can't
bear to face your family

and tell them that you won't
part of that ceremony.

How hard have they worked
to send you here?

What have they sacrificed
for you, huh, April?

What would they say
if they knew

that their daughter
was a lying, cheating...

I am not a...

Because the truth is

that you don't respect me
or my classes.

And you loathe the fact

the someone like me
would come in here

and shame you
in front of your entire family!

Isn't that right, April?!

Yes! Yes!

I hate your classes
and I hate you

and this entire
fucking school!

- Which is why I...
- Cheated.

Say you plagiarized
the essay.

- Say it, April.
- You...!


You're wrong.

I'm not a cheater.

Please give us
the room.

Okay, so...

how do you think
we should proceed?

Professor Gould?

I could care less
how we proceed.

Ms. Lewis?

What do you think?

What do I think?

We're fucked, is what I think.

There's a story coming out
about today.

About this.


How do you know that?

Because my fucking boss
just got fired,

that's how I know.

And guess who's next?

I can't believe
she would do this to us.

Wait, you think April
leaked the story?

Who else would it be?

Oh, ho, ho...

If she's trying
to manipulate us

she needs to be held

It's too late.

The story's already out.

We have to let her go.

And what if we fail her?

Then we'll end up looking
as prejudiced

as the American schools.

The university will be publicly
shamed and I'll be fired.

Deborah, this is nothing
short of extortion.

She is deliberately
preventing us

from fulfilling our duty
as arbiters...

Richard! Let's be honest.

Our duty today was nothing more
than offering customer support.

There's only one thing to do.

So, should I bring
them in?


I'm not just gonna
let this happen.

Nothing you do will
make a difference...

I don't care. I will not
be cornered like this.

And I'm gonna tell her that.
Screw the university.



Okay, it was... it was me.

Excuse me?

I'm the one leaking the hearing.



I'm sorry.

Did you say leaking?

Does that mean that someone
is listening right now?

It wasn't supposed
to get this far!

And then nobody was supposed
to get fired.

I screwed this whole
thing up.


- Whoa!
- Hey!

You know, I get why
you did this.

And I get why
you had to do this.

Family's important.

You don't know anything
about my family.

I know they came here
to celebrate you.

Or, more importantly,
all your successes.

That's what this is
all about, right?

I mean, if it wasn't
for all your accomplishments,

what would you even be
to your parents?

You think that they'd probably
just disown you at that point?

Boy, that must be hard.

Going your whole life
knowing that your family's love

is ultimately just...


What do you think is gonna
happen to you...

when this is all over?

What are you supposed to
do with yourself now?

Do you have a life?


I mean, who even are you
without this place?

You wanna know
what I think?

I think you're just
gonna disappear.

Because if there's one thing
I know about you,

it's this: there...

Shut up!


That's who
you really are.

After careful
consideration of the evidence

brought forth by both parties

concerning April Chen's final
International History 300 essay,

this academic tribunal
has unanimously found

that there was no sufficient

to suggest that an academic
offence has been committed

by the student, April Chen.

Therefore, the grade given
on the essay will stand

and she will be awarded
her degree in Computer Science.

On behalf of DuPont University,

I would like to thank everyone
for coming in today.

Our decision is final

and the university considers
this matter closed.


So, a deal's a deal.

Right, April?


You okay?

Yeah, I'm good.

So what's up?

I need a favour.


I need you to write a story

about DuPont's plagiarism

targeting Asian students.

You got caught, didn't you?

You can start by finding
the Comp Sci rep.

His name's Josh Bertier.

Yeah, I know Josh.

What do I get out of this?

You know I built a platform
that was bought

by Snakeskin
Media Group, right?

Does this mean you can get me
an interview

at one of their sites?

I can get you a full-time
writing position

in their New York bureau.

New York?!