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Crime Prevention: Academic Plaigiarism

Submitted by Hillary Perkins on November 20, 2013 – 11:41 amNo Comment

Illustration by Logan Sturgill

The most disgraceful academic crime to commit during college is plagiarism.

Plagiarism is the act of copying someone else’s work without giving them credit.

There are various forms of plagiarism. Usually, students will copy and paste an entire article as if it was their own. Students may even copy and paste certain parts of an article directly. Sometimes students may even paraphrase certain parts of an article without referencing the source. Another way a student can commit plagiarism by not using the proper citation.

The plagiarism policy is something that must be taken very seriously and is set up for a purpose. Richard Harper, the Assistant Dean of Students, said that the purpose of setting up the plagiarism polices is “to uphold academic integrity, keying higher education.”

If a student commits plagiarism, there are consequences. There is an academic grade penalty where the student will fail the assignment or the
course. The Dean of students can also take disciplinary action such as an educational sanction, academic probation, expulsion or suspension. An
educational sanction occurs when the Dean of Students mandate students to take plagiarism course through the Raise and Integrity Software Company in which they will have to take a quiz at the end. Such sanctions prevent first offenders from committing plagiarism again.

Here is how to avoid plagiarism. When using an author’s exact words, always use quotation marks from the copied source and cite the author’s name and title of the article. The way a student uses citations depends on the genre of the writing. If students have any questions on citation format, he or she can always ask their professors for help.

The University Writing Center is another aid for students to learn how to use different citations and  specific writing conventions. When doing research, students can also use good notes, carefully tracking where information was found.  “We want to be sure that students do their own work,” said Trey Philpotts, the chair of the English department.

One way to avoid plagiarism is for professors to remind students what plagiarism  is, as well as the consequences behind it. In every syllabus, all professors have their own disciplinary actions for plaigiarism. Also, in every syllabus, there is the definition of plagiarism, the consequences behind it, and ways of
preventing plagiarism.

Many professors use the Safe Assign website to detect plagiarism when reviewing papers. The program displays, in percentage form, how much of the paper matches other documents on the Web and those submitted at UALR.

Professors can detect  plagiarism in various ways. For example, a drastic in a student’s writing from one paper to the next can raise a red flag. Of course, students may unintentionally plagiarized, but that too can be prevented with careful attention. “If we don’t draw the line, no one else will,” said R. Paul Yoder, a Professor in the English department.

According to the UALR website, these are the steps that professors must follow when confronting students about plagiarism.

  1. Professors must confront their students before the Dean of students as well as completing an allegation Offense Report form.
  2. The student should schedule a meeting with his or her professor.
  3. He or she should understand why they are accused of plagiarism and have the opportunity to explain their side of the story.

Students will have to meet with the Dean of Students within six days after being notified of the allegation.  A student can deny the allegation or claim that it was an honest mistake. From there, a student can make an appeal to the Academic Integrity and Grievance Committee within 10 days of filing an academic offense report. Then, the Chair of the Academic Integrity and Grievance committee will schedule a hearing.

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