Ed Dante came out of the computer closet … well, sort of. Using a clever pseudonym, a research paper mill writer exposed the tricks of his trade in a Chronicle of Higher Education article mixing a lambast of modern American education, snipets of client email/text messages, and a bit of mea culpa.
Over the past year he has written over 5,000 pages: everything from undergraduate business ethics papers to admissions essays to seminary exegesis to more than a few graduate thesis. The custom work starts at $2,000 a pop, of which he pockets half. He makes decent though not great money, but he says he is ready to retire.
Why he is sharing this information with the academic community is unclear. He appears to have given up on education during his own undergraduate career because of his professors’ lack of interest in anything beyond formulaic responses, but then turned around and made a living writing exactly that. He seems to running from his own gates of hell, thus making the Chronicle reader either Virgil, his guide to through the inferno, or an inhabitant of hell itself.
As a professor, I am appalled… at him, at his company, at the students who hire him. In the end though, he picked the Chronicle because he wanted to tell professors something, to tell me something. I can complain about the ethics of others all day, but in the end the only real control I have is over myself. Part of my job is holding students accountable. That means I am obligated, I have a duty to pay attention to how they write. I can try to hide behind a heavy workload and too many students, but then I am abdicating my responsibilities.