Lashzone users face “severe” penalties

Students using a website which claims to complete university assignments for students can expect to face a harsh punishment from the University.

The Lashzone service was advertised to students in mass emails sent to Oxford Nexus accounts last Sunday, declaring that the service was “trying to make this painful path of brain torture a bit easier”.

This followed a previous email sent by Lashzone to many Nexus accounts during 0th Week which suggested students set aside “those painful assignments that have nothing to do with test material and waste all your study time”, and instead “leave it to us”.

For students who agree with Lashzone’s mantra, they can expect to fork out in order to use the service. A request sent by an Oxford Student reporter for a 2000-word political theory essay on the question, ‘Are individual citizens in Rousseau’s state ‘free’? (requiring explicit reference to The Social Contract)’, was quoted as costing 130 Canadian dollars (around £80).

However, on Wednesday the University was unequivocal in sending out a warning to any of those tempted by the site.

A spokesperson said: “The University regards all companies providing ready-made written work that students might hand in as if it were their own with deep concern, and anyone who submits plagiarised material as part of their course can expect to be dealt with severely.”

They added: “The close supervision of students through Oxford’s intensive teaching system makes it particularly difficult for students to pass off the work of others as their own.

“The University also employs software applications to detect plagiarism in submitted examination work, both in terms of copying and collusion.

“[The University] regularly monitors online essay banks, essay-writing services, and other potential sources of material. Anyone who submits plagiarised material as part of their course can expect to be dealt with severely.”

However, Lashzone is unlikely to be shaken by such announcements, having admitted in their Sunday email that it has “many enemies, many profs and ‘academic’ fans that are committed to their ‘Academic Integrity’”.

The service commented: “We don’t see what’s wrong with what we do.”

Reflecting this attitude, the service is looking to expand, declaring in an email: “We want to localise Lashzone in every campus possible. Let’s call it franchising, but not in the usual way.

“We want every campus to have its own little (secret) Lashzone group that has its own writers, advertisers and customer service team.”

Many students seem unconvinced by Lashzone however. A first-year PPEist said: “It’s well aimed at that weird subsection of Oxford who lope about the quads with their red trousers around their ankles.

“I wouldn’t use it- my prose style is weird and identifiable and I also quite like my degree.

“But I fully encourage its proliferation on the basis that the ‘yoof’ who do use it are more likely to get caught. And I am basically a pretty spiteful person.”

Laurie Blackman, a second-year historian at St Hugh’s commented: “Though I love ‘lash’ and ‘banter’ as much as the next lad, this has a place. And that place is on the Main Floor of Park End, not my inbox.”

Concerns have also been raised about how the emails found their way into so many users’ accounts. In response to enquiries made by a student, the University Computing Services said:

“The University is targeted by phishing campaigns and if only a handful of end users are tricked into giving away their login credentials then that could result in the global address list being compromised as well.”

As we went to press however, our reporter was yet to hear back from a job application for the service, having being told:

“We will get back to you shortly, we are just waiting to get replies from every one for now.”