Plagiarism or academic dishonesty as it is commonly known is a rampant vice among college students which is committed both intentionally and unintentionally (Maureen and Joyce 2006). There is a growing concern about the increasing levels of plagiarism among students who are either too lazy to do their assignments or are turning to doing group work and then turning assignments as their original work. Different forms of plagiarism exist which to fairly new students in college may be quite hard to master. For instance copying from internet sources without giving credit, paraphrasing of other people’s work and not acknowledging the original author and the most common one is whereby students fail to cite even when they have referenced their work (Plagiarism Statement 2006).
My position on this issue is that plagiarism should be discouraged using the strongest and enforceable terms possible. The first step is to give an F in the particular assignment or test and then proceed to reassign the test again but first making sure that the student understands what plagiarism is and why he or she is repeating the assignment. To make sure that the student is serious with work, the possible total marks that can be awarded in the second attempt of the paper is seventy percent and not a hundred in order to make the student to work harder. On top of redoing the work again, the student involved in plagiarism should appear before a specially constituted board of staff members in the department of the student and also the parents should be present (Jack and Michelle 2009). Failure of following the above procedure by the student will lead to failure in the course and subsequently no graduation for such a student.
This stand may seem harsh but it is the only way of curtailing a culture that is threatening to kill innovation and originality among our future scholars. In the field of research, originality of ideas is encouraged although those ideas must be from prior similar work which someone took a lot of time to compile and acknowledgement would be in order. It would also deem to be unfair as a tutor to award marks to all students on the same scale considering that some have done their honest work and turned it on time whereas others have taken a short cut and copied from their friends at the last time to avoid failing in the paper (Jack and Michelle 2009).
There has been a mushrooming of many internet sites that have custom written papers which a student can download an essay for quite an exorbitant fee in order to avoid doing the assignment. This trend pits students from rich backgrounds who can afford to buy professionally written papers in order to out do their counterparts against other students who depend sorely on their natural abilities to research. In the long run, some students may pass not because of their natural abilities and intellect but because they used shortcuts (Maureen and Joyce 2006).
Some faculty members and teachers have argued that punishment that is doled on students in the case of plagiarism is sometimes extreme and impacts negatively on the lives of students who may sometimes be suspended for two years. According to an article appearing in The Daily Princetonian, as many as ten students were asked to leave the Princeton University for two years on various charges of plagiarism. In addition, twenty two students were slapped with suspensions and expulsions while the degrees of other students were withheld by the university (Jack and Michelle 2009). Most of the punishment is seen as draconian and unfair which is not the case especially when there are clearly outlined penalties for plagiarism which are available to every student in college. To counter this, many people argue that plagiarism is in many forms which should carry different penalties and not a viewed as equal (Plagiarism Statement 2006).
While there may be different forms of plagiarism, the bottom line is that it all amounts to plagiarism and it should be treated the same. The only thing that may make difference in penalty is whether it is a first time offense or a repeated offence. The penalties are also not just handed but a committee sits downs and passes the sentence based on admissible evidence of plagiarism, laid down regulations and their expertise on such matters (Maureen and Joyce 2006).
There is no other way to show the seriousness of dealing with plagiarism other than to hand out stiff penalties on offenders in order to discourage the vice in our future scholars. However, considerations can be made on to what form of plagiarism because there are usually cases of mistakes and students end up paying severely. To avoid the penalties that come up with plagiarism, students have to make sure that they acknowledge their sources even if they have paraphrased the original thought, cut or copy pasting of material from the internet is not an option and all materials that is cited should be within the reference and the reference materials should be cited within your work.
- Jack Ackerman and Michelle Wu. Doling Out Discipline. 29th April, 2009. 24 August 2009, <http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/2009/04/29/23576/>
- Maureen Dawson and Joyce Overfileld. Plagiarism: Do students know what it is? 18 July 2006. 24 August 2009, <http://www.bioscience.heacademy.ac.uk/journal/vol8/beej-8-1.aspx>
- ‘Plagiarism Statement’. Union County Public Schools Graduation Project Implementation Guide. 23 Jan, 2006. 24 August 2009. <http://cata.ucps.k12.nc.us/documents/Form2-PlagiarismStatement.pdf>