Franklin Style Manual Online

1.4.2 Understanding the consequences of plagiarism

In academic settings, using someone else’s words or ideas without proper acknowledgment is considered to be one form of academic dishonesty, an attempt to pass off another’s work as one’s own. As a form of academic dishonesty, plagiarism bears with it serious consequences. Franklin University, to further its commitment to high‐quality education, imposes severe penalties for academic dishonesty—from a grade of zero on an assignment to failing a course or being expelled from the university with a notation on one’s permanent record. The complete policy can be found on pages 16-18 of the Franklin University Academic Bulletin 20102011

In Section 1.4.1, you learned that the existence of plagiarism does not depend on intentionality. It may seem unfair, then, that charges of plagiarism fall under the category of academic dishonesty. Yet the rationale for placing them in such a category is not unlike the rationale used for other forms of legal prosecution wherein the welfare of the community depends on the due diligence individuals take to learn the laws. In fact, plagiarism violations are sometimes compared to traffic violations: Not knowing the speed limit is not an acceptable excuse to avoid getting a speeding ticket. Just so, not knowing how and when to acknowledge sources properly is not a sufficient excuse to avoid a charge of plagiarism. Each student is responsible for correct citation practices to avoid plagiarism, which is a concept covered in many courses and treated by many required textbooks and writing resources (this one included). If a charge of academic dishonesty is filed, the consequences will not only be assessed based on the degree of plagiarism, but also on the degree to which the writer chose to ignore clear and frequent warning signs.

In the bigger picture, inattentiveness to plagiarism can have more severe consequences than failure of an assignment or class. The academic standards held by the institution where you acquire your degree ultimately reflect the quality of work exhibited by students graduating with those degrees. To uphold such standards, many institutions not only provide frequent guidance on issues like plagiarism, but some have also revoked degrees later found to be based on plagiarized work. In the professional world, finally, employers and colleagues expect college graduates to understand the differences between original work and plagiarized work. While plagiarism is not the same as copyright violation (see more in the following section), writers who are able to uphold the academic standards for producing original work can more readily identify potential copyright violations that can cost firms thousands of dollars in damages and legal fees.

Last Updated: 06/8/2012 16:50