Man. Sometimes we think our old professors were right in their evaluation of our intellectual capabilities. Especially when we read something like this. Why didn't we think of that? State Senator Richard Colburn, has the right idea. College is hard enough without having to deal with all those stress inducing details like writing papers.
Here's a poor working stiff trying to balance attendance at all the frat parties and attendance at all the fund raisers in the legislature. Plus trying to find out who sent a sexually harassing e-mail with one of his supporter's name on it. "It had to be more than just ironic that we traced it back to a U.S. House of Representatives office building," Colburn said. "Those guys got sexual harassment down. Have you read some of their stuff. That Tom DeLay, he's a hoot, he wrote this poem about headlights, ha...well...er... forget that. I never asked anyone over there to write anything for me."
Gregory Dukes, a former legislative aide, says he wrote five papers for Colburn for two sociology courses. "He told me we could share the degree. You know. When I was applying for a job I could use it, and when he ran for governor he could use it."
Colburn denies the allegations, saying he wrote the papers longhand and gave them to Dukes to type because he does not know how to type or use computers. "Hey. I'm a legislator," he said, "All that new fangled technology stuff like computers and typewriters is what I have assistants for. Oh. Was that a good thing to say? Anyway, it's his word against mine," he said. "We're talking about a disgruntled employee. He's mad because I didn't give him first shot at the sexually harassing e-mail. I would have, but man, have you ever read a Hastert limerick? Dukes couldn't touch that guy with a ten foot...well you know. Ha. Maybe I'm not such a bad writer after all."
Dukes provided copies of draft papers, notes, e-mails and faxes to support his allegations. One note is handwritten from Colburn to his aide, and it describes a sociology professor's direction in writing a term paper.
"Gregory -- I talked to Dr. Alston (Assistant Professor David Alston) about a term paper comparing the plight of Native American (Indians) on reservations in America vs. that of Jews in concentration camps in Nazi Germany. Dr. Alston states that he felt such a paper would be too complex. He stated to just read this chapter and try to read and quote from other authors," the note said. It is signed, "Thanks, Rick."
"OK so it's my word against his and those notes," Colburn said, "I'll prove I wrote the paper right now. Ask me about Native Americans. Ask me anything and I'll answer it. Native Americans. Those are the indians, right?"
Ronnie Holden, vice president for administrative affairs at the University, stated that Colburn is no longer enrolled and said the withdrawal came after Dukes submitted the complaint. But Holden cited student confidentiality laws and would not comment further. "We can''t tell you if he withdrew because he couldn't tell us the titles of those papers, but when we asked him how many pages he had written he said 'I'm outta here.'"
"Even if Dukes' allegations are true and he wrote papers for Colburn on state time, that probably does not constitute a legal violation," Assistant Attorney General Robert Zarnoch said, because lawmakers have wide latitude in the tasks they give their employees. "You should see some of the things these guys have their assistants doing," he continued, "It would curl your hair."