Policy on "plagiarism"?

Kathleen Anderson vstr18a at sfsu.edu
Sun Dec 31 16:16:20 EST 1995

Brian T. Greuel (greuelb1 at uofs.edu) wrote:
: We are in the process of drafting a written departmental policy on 
: "plagiarism" to address an occasional problem we have with students 
: submitting  papers or lab reports that make inappropriate use of 
: reference materials. Anybody out there have a written policy already 
: in force that you could share with us?

I work for a community college (Contra Costa College) that has recently
put together an official policy that gets printed in every class schedule
and posted on some bulletin boards. Some instructors pass out copies of it
at the beginning of semesters.

It's titled "Academic Honesty Policy" and spells out the expectations
that students are expected to perform ethically and honestly, provides
definitions of plagiarism, cheating, fabrication, aiding and abetting
dishonesty, and "forgery, alteration or misuse of campus documents,
records, or identification or knowingly furnishing false or incomplete
information to a campus." It then outlines disciplinary actions ("mild or
severe, ranging from a verbal or written reprimand, to probation, a grade
of F or no credit in a course, to suspension, expulsion or dismissal from
a course or from the College") and the appeal process (students have 10
days to request a hearing).

I think their plagiarism definition is a good one:

"Although difficult to define, plagiarism consists of taking the words 
or specific substance of another and either copying or paraphrasing the 
work without giving credit to the source. The following examples are only 
some of the many forms plagiarism may take.
  1. Submitting a term paper, examination or other work written by
     someone else. This is a flagrant instance of plagiarism.
  2. Failure to give credit in a footnote for ideas, statements of fact
     or conclusions derived by another.
  3. Failure to use quotation marks when quoting directly from another,
     whether it be a paragraph, a sentence or even a part thereof.
  4. Close and extended paraphrasing of another."

"Cheating" is defined in the same document as:
"Using unauthorized notes, study aids, or information from another 
student or student's paper on an in-class examination; altering a 
graded work after it has been returned, then submitting the work 
for re-grading; and allowing another person to do one's work and to 
submit the work under one's own name."

The rest of the terms are pretty self-explanatory, although our policy 
does spell them out pretty closely too.

I do work for the college but I am not a representative of the college, 
and so cannot give permission for others to use this body of 
definitions. But if you would like to request permission to use it, 
feel free to Email me and I will pass the request along to those 
possessing such powers.

I would be interested to see what others think of our policy/guidelines, 
and I'd also be interested to learn of what others have come up with. 
I think it is exceedingly important to take a firm stand from the very 
beginning of students' academic careers, in case they've never 
considered such issues previously for themselves. When various 
surveys come out with astonishingly high rates of respondents admitting 
they have cheated, it shouldn't be surprising that such behavior 
continues further along in their careers, where it can (and does) do 
substantial harm.

Kathleen Anderson
vstr18a at sfsu.edu

More information about the Bioforum mailing list