In February, Revolve One hosts Rudy and Crystal Garcia had the opportunity to speak with Andrea Johnson, Co-founder of C Math is Easy, a non-traditional math coaching service that focuses on TSI prep. In this episode, Rudy and Crystal spoke with Andrea about her experience concerning copyright infringement at the hands of the Upward Bound Program at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi. She believes the Upward Bound Program plagiarized and re-typed significant portions of the copyrighted C Math is Easy TSI Math Workbook and distributed the workbooks to students in the program. As it turns out, her suspicions were correct. Unfortunately, however, Texas A&M Corpus Christi’s story still isn’t quite lining up with Andrea’s experience and understanding of the situation.
In a legal document sent to Andrea, Texas A&M Corpus Christi claims “an Upward Bound staff member provided A&M-Corpus Christi students employed in the program as tutors with a copy of your…TSI Math Workbook to use as a resource…At an Upward Bound event in November 2019, copies of the packet created by the tutors were made available to a group of 19-25 Moody High School students. The packet was not distributed but instead placed at the front of the room for anyone who wanted it. A&M-Corpus Christi believes that only one student took a copy.” Andrea disputes this claim for two reasons. First, she initially discovered the plagiarism in January 2020, two whole months after the Upward Bound event referenced in the legal document took place, leading to her belief the plagiarized packets must have continued circulating between November 2019 and January 2020.
If this is the case, it’s highly likely that more than one student benefited from the packet, which brings up Andrea’s second objection to TAMUCC’s claim that only one student took a workbook. However, according to the Upward Bound website, their program can serve up to 120 students across four high schools. Numbers like these make the one-packet claim sound far-fetched and doesn’t consider the fact that Andrea got her hands on multiple copies herself, and the dissonance has made reaching a settlement agreement difficult.
TAMUCC has offered to pay C Math is Easy $1,500 to cover the cost of twenty-five TSI Math Workbooks and is committed to collect any copies of the workbooks passed out. However, Andrea doesn’t believe it is enough. Texas A&M Corpus Christi has stated if C Math is Easy does not agree to these terms, they will “raise all applicable defenses” to force their will. Despite the risk, Andrea has sent back a counter-offer with the hopes of covering the cost of how many packets she believes were taken and receiving just compensation. It is a disappointing situation especially given that Andrea’s deepest desire is for C Math is Easy to partner with schools and universities in the area, including Texas A&M Corpus Christi. There is still time for a sensible resolution, but Andrea can’t help feeling that Corpus Christi is not friendly to small minority-owned businesses. In our discussion, she says, “We’re at the table, but no one sees us.” Our hope at Revolve One is that the reputation of our city changes, and good comes to not only Andrea and C Math is Easy, but to every hardworking small minority business in the area.