Ms. Mary Albanese, a celebrated former member of our English Department, formulated the following policy. This document continues to represent the English Department’s philosophy and policy on plagiarism and academic honesty.
In Section 1.8, pp. 30-33, of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, author Joseph Gibaldi defines and explains how to avoid the serious academic offense called plagiarism. Quoting Alexander Lindey, Gibaldi defines plagiarism as:
The false assumption of authorship; the wrongful act of taking the product of another person's mind and presenting it as one's own (30).
Sometimes students think that plagiarism occurs only when a source is quoted verbatim without a citation; that is not the case.
The following are also examples of plagiarism:
• not citing a source when using a writer's thoughts or expressions, even when the
writing has been paraphrased;
• using another person's line of reasoning, arguments, analyses, or interpretations and not
citing the author (this is especially prevalent in literature classes when students are asked to write a paper analyzing what they have read and applies to the use of such study guides as Cliff's Notes and Sparks Notes);
• copying a classmate's work; that includes using her ideas and / or language, even if the
writing has been paraphrased (this applies to response journal assignments, homework assignments, essays, and research papers); and
• submitting an essay or research paper in one course that was done for a previous
How is plagiarism avoided? Simply by doing one's own work and relying on one's own thoughts, ideas, and writing about a subject. However, when a student uses a source other than herself, she must document that source in the proper manner following the procedures described in the MLA Handbook which can be found online or in an iPad application.
The English Department encourages students to evaluate their own Turnitin reports to note where they can do a better job of paraphrasing. Turnitin can be a wonderful tool to practice proper paraphrasing, rather than just a tool to “catch” plagiarism.
If a teacher suspects that a student has plagiarized, here is how he/she will address it:
First, the teacher will talk to the student[s] suspected of having plagiarized. Usually, the teacher will write on the assignment in question ‘see me’ or will ask the student[s] directly to approach the teacher privately. After the teacher and student(s) have spoken and if it has been established that plagiarism has occurred, either deliberately or inadvertently, the following will occur:
1. The student [s] will receive a 0 for that assignment; it will be considered not done.
2. The student[s] may or may not be asked to redo the assignment honestly.
3. Copies of the plagiarized work will be submitted to the Dean of Discipline.
4. The school's policy on cheating and plagiarism (on p. 36 of the Student Handbook) will
5. The student may receive a grave infraction, resulting in suspension and / or expulsion,
as stated on p. 42 of the Student Handbook.
Cheating on a quiz, test, or assignment includes the following:
• looking at another's paper during a quiz or test;
• displaying one's paper for another student to see during a quiz or test;
• using unauthorized sources during a quiz or a test; and
• getting quiz or test answers from students in another class and / or giving answers to
students in other classes.
Plagiarism is a common problem in academia that has serious consequences. Inadvertent or willful, plagiarism has led to expulsions from college, lawsuits in the workplace, the removal or Pulitzer Prizes in journalism, and worst of all – a loss of academic integrity. The English department seeks to work with students to avoid these problems in their English classes and in their other high school classes, as well as in life.