Plagiarizing common occurrence

Hannah Fermanich

With mid-terms approaching, it’s good to take the time to remember one of the major issues that comes with papers: plagiarizing.

According to the NMU Student Handbook, “No students shall submit as their own to an instructor any work which contains ideas or materials taken from another without full acknowledgement of the author, and the source.”

What that means is that any work or ideas that are used in any student work, without giving credit to the original author is plagiarizing.

“We see it every semester,” said Raymond Ventre, head of the English department. “(Students) don’t understand the value of academic citation.”

The most frequent plagiarism problem comes with a lack of citation.

Students either don’t know when they should cite information or they neglect to cite it at all.

“They think it’s less original to use more sources,” Ventre said.

Other less frequent occurrences are when students either take parts from another’s work or they download essays in their entirety from the Internet, Ventre said.

NMU offers students a great amount of resources when it comes to citation. The Olson Library’s website has links to citation resources.

The instructors are always willing to help students who are confused and students are also able to visit the Writing Center for more help.

“They can just come in, it’s a walk-in service,” said Katie Hubbard, graduate assistant at the Writing Center.

The Writing Center works with students to help them cite their sources properly as well as help them with other writing challenges.

They explain step-by-step how to use the different citation styles and go through the citation process with them.
“One of our goals is to eliminate that confusion,” Hubbard said.

Even with the resources made available to students, some still choose to plagiarize. For those individuals, severe punishments can be expected.

According to Dean of Students, Christine Greer there are no legal ramifications involved with plagiarizing, but the Student Handbook makes it clear that other punishments inside the university will affect those who choose to continue stealing other people’s work.

“When we catch it, we follow up on it,” Ventre said.

According to the Student Handbook, when a student is suspected of plagiarizing, the instructor involved has 14 calendar days to alert the student to the violation of the Student Code, not including the days in which there is no school.

After the student has responded, the instructor is left to determine whether or not they believe that the student has participated in academic dishonesty.

The instructor will then determine the punishment for the student, ranging from repeating the assignment all the way up to failing the student in the course.

“We’ve had just about every excuse possible,” Ventre said.

If a student continues to violate the Student Code with academic dishonesty, the dean of students becomes involved.
Depending on the severity and number of infractions, there is a possibility of the student being suspended or even expelled from NMU.

“Better safe than sorry,” Hubbard said.

Students wishing to receive help with citation can either work with their professors or they can take their papers to the Writing Center.

The Writing Center asks that students bring the assignment sheet or syllabus that gives the details of the assignment as well as a printed copy of the paper.

The Writing Center is open Sundays from 1 to 6 p.m. and Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. It is closed on Friday and Saturday as well as holidays, school breaks and finals week.