Web site sells papers, criticizes “mediocre professors,” assignments

Latasha Webb

After graduating from Miami International University, Kenneth Sahr decided he wanted to confront head-on educators who give generic assignments. So he started SchoolSucks.com.

The site, which first hit the Web in 1996, provides term papers to students for up to $20 per page.

Although Sahr said the site doesn’t promote plagiarism, University English professor Kent Bales believes that’s exactly what it was designed to do.

“We’re not encouraging plagiarism!” Sahr posted on the site. “If we wanted students to plagiarize, we would rate the papers. For the most part, they’re nothing to brag about.”

Sahr said he believes students mostly use the site to learn more about an idea, to better understand a confusing topic, or to find helpful sources from other student’s
bibliographies.

But Bales said he doesn’t believe students would pay $50 to $100 just to look at a paper.

“This paper costs $56,” he said while surfing the site for the first time. “I don’t believe anyone’s going to pay this much money just to see the paper.”

More than 10,000 people visit the site every day.

University students Eli Ward and Kristy Hausladen said they don’t believe the site is immoral but said they wouldn’t use it themselves.

“I would feel more confident turning in my own work,” Ward said.

Hausladen said she wouldn’t plagiarize but would use the site to get ideas for papers. She said most of her assignments don’t teach her anything applicable to her real life.

“(The assignments) are mediocre,” she said.

University senior Kelly Peterson said she never has and never will cheat on a paper.

“I have my own ideas,” she said. “People that use that site are immoral.”

But Sahr said the problem is not with the students who use his site but with teachers and professors who give out mediocre assignments.

“School Sucks is forcing mediocre professors assigning mediocre assignments to wake up,” he said.

Said Peterson, “If mediocre teachers are giving out mediocre assignments, they’re doing the best they can.”

Bales said he wonders how a database of papers could make assignments more interesting. “What kind of teaching are they doing?” he said.

Sahr said the site will encourage educators to come up with more interesting assignments.

The more generic the assignment, the more likely School Sucks will have a paper on it, he said.

Bales said students have complained about assignment topics in the past and that he’ll try to be more cautious and observant in the future.

“I have no problems with students reading each other’s work,” he said. “But assignments are given for students to improve themselves.”

Latasha Webb welcomes comments at [email protected]