UP fact-finding committee: Solis plagiarized 7 times

The report of the fact-finding committee reveals that Mark Solis submitted plagiarized photos to at least 7 competitions

MANILA, Philippines – Mark Solis submitted plagiarized photos to at least 7 competitions.

This is according to the report of the special fact-finding committee created by the University of the Philippines National College of Public Administration (UP-NCPAG).

Mark Solis bagged the 1st place in the “Smiles of the World Competition” organized by the Chilean embassy after submitting a prize-winning photo of a boy with seaweeds in his head. The photo, however, turned out to be plagiarized.

Since news broke out about the plagiarism case, Solis has already apologized and admitted to the misdeed. The Chilean embassy has also revoked his rewards and announced a new set of winners. Read: Solis returns rewards to embassy

The report also confirmed that Solis submitted the same photo to two other competitions. The competitions are Mulat Manipat Photojournalism organized by the Union of Journalists in the Philippines-UP (UJP-UP) and Oh my Government! organized by the Eastern Regional Organization for Public Administration.

UP JURISDICTION? Mark Solis submitted a plagiarized photo in a contest held within UP. Screengrab courtesy of UJP-UP

Since 2011

The report went all the way back to February 2011 to show that Solis had been plagiarizing photos since being a Political Science undergraduate student at UP.

The report listed 7 competitions: 

  • Smiles for the World: 2nd Calidad Humana Photo Essay Competition (2012-2013)
  • Water and Life: 2013 ICIMOD Digital Photo Contest (2013)
  • Mulat Manipat Photojournalism contest (2012)
  • Papworth Trust 2nd Photography Competition (2011)
  • Say Peace! Online Photo Contest (2011)
  • VinylPlus Sustainable Thinking Platform Photo Contest (2010-2011)
  • Eastern Regional Organization for Public Administration (EROPA) (2012)

Anton Hernandez, graduate representative in the fact-finding committee, said that “they interviewed different resource persons” in consolidating the report.

Citing “lack of time and resources,” the committee said brief individual interviews were made as they could not conduct formal interviews or validate information they had gathered.

Described by Hernandez as “strictly black and white,” the report sought to establish the facts and chronology of events in Mark Solis’ plagiarism case. It also targeted making a recommendation to the college and suggesting measures to avoid similar events from happening in the future.

The report based the committee’s recommendations on the provisions of the 2009 student code which says that students “shall at all times observe the laws of the land and the rules and regulations of the university” and that “any other form of misconduct” is prohibited in the university.

Next steps

The committee listed recommendations to the college, including deciding whether the NCPAG will allow Solis to continue with his graduate studies.

The committee provided Dean Fe Mendoza 3 possible courses of action: constitute a college investigation committee, elevate the case to the office of chancellor, and provide additional measures to avoid a similar thing from happening again. 

In an interview with Mendoza, she said that because the college does not have a legal counsel to look into the case, creating a college investigation committee was not an option. 

Mendoza also added that the report clearly shows that the plagiarism issue is “not just a college issue.”

Prodigal son

Mendoza disclosed that she met with Solis on October 4. She likened the meeting to that between a mother and her prodigal son. 

Solis sought her advice and she told him, “Hwag kang pupunta sa probinsya. Face the issue.” (Don’t leave for the province. Face the issue.)

Mendoza assured Solis that in the event a hearing takes place, he will be provided a legal counsel who will ensure that his rights are protected. 

The college dean also noted that Solis had lost a lot of weight since the last time she saw him. 

Possible sanctions?

Hernandez said Professor Oliva Dominga, chairperson of the fact-finding committee, kept “a very safe stand” on the issue. Solis is said to be a protegé of Dominga.

The committee report was not categorical about whether Solis’ plagiarism case falls under UP’s jurisdiction — despite the committee’s findings. 

The report enumerated the following possible sanctions that may be imposed on Solis: “expulsion, suspension from the University, withholding graduation and other privileges, withdrawal of registration privileges, permanent disqualification from enrollment, exclusion from any class, reprimand, warning, or expression of apology.”

But Mendoza said it will be up to the chancellor to decide the fate of Solis. – Rappler.com


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