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Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Plagarism Policy 

The college policy on academic misconduct (plagiarism and cheating) is stated in the 2006-2007 Academic Bulletin, pp. 21-22 and in the 2005-2006 Millikin University Student Handbook, pp.25-26. Plagiarism represents an attempt to cheat and deceive and it is a direct insult to us. If you are caught plagiarizing or cheating, you will be subject to the fullest disciplinary procedures permitted by the university. The attempt to pass off the work of someone else as your own will meet with grave consequences. At a minimum, you will automatically fail this course. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. Our integrity and the integrity of this institution of higher learning demands nothing less than a clear, forceful, and consistently enforced policy attacking this cancer.
My advice to you is simple and straightforward: Don’t do it. Do not download papers from the Internet. Do not cut and paste portions of papers found on the Internet and string them together. Do not make minor modifications in the wording of texts in an attempt to avoid detection. Do not use papers that may be on “file” in some undisclosed area. Do not use an author’s words and pass them off as your own. This is your education. Take responsibility for it. Do your own work.

We are well aware that there are a host of possible explanations for why you might engage in acts of plagiarism. Among the most widespread explanations are the fact that plagiarism is so easy to do (i.e., you are lazy) and the fact that you have procrastinated to such an extent that you have painted yourself into a corner (i.e., poor time management). Whatever explanations you might provide, however, we are telling you now: There are no possible justifications. If you use sources, then provide citations to those sources. You must provide citations whether you directly quote someone else or paraphrase them. If you paraphrase, make sure you do it correctly. (If you have any questions about how to do this, ask!) If you take ideas from someone else, then you need to tell me that you have done so. Citations are for that purpose.

Faculty and Student Responsibilities

Faculty Responsibilities: Faculty should call the issue of plagiarism to the attention of the students. Faculty should spend some time in class (e.g., on the first day of class) emphasizing the importance of the issue, clearly stating their policy for violations, and providing resources to assist students in their efforts to understand and avoid plagiarism. Faculty should make themselves available to students in order to discuss the issue with students who have questions and/or refer them to our campus experts on the issue of plagiarism. If faculty members do the above, then their responsibility is discharged. Importantly, faculty members do not have the responsibility to teach the topic of plagiarism to individual students or to each of their classes. There are specified locations in the university curriculum where this takes place. Student Responsibilities: The burden is on the student to know what plagiarism is and to make sure that they avoid engaging in acts of plagiarism. “Ignorance of the law is no excuse.” As a rough and ready guide, students should ask themselves this question: “Did what I just write come out of my own head?” If the answer to that question is “Yes,” then the student is typically on safe ground. If the answer to that question is “No,” then the student needs to provide citations that allow the faculty member to locate the source of the ideas. If the answer is “I am not sure,” then the burden is on the student to resolve his doubt by taking active steps—go see the faculty member teaching the course, go see library staff, go see English faculty, etc.

Examples of Plagiarism

Example #1 - Web Source: Historically, there are two distinct dreamrelated skeptical doubts. The one doubt undermines the judgment that one is presently awakecall this the Now Dreaming Doubt. The other doubt undermines the judgment that one is ever awakecall this the Always Dreaming Doubt. Both kinds of dreams doubt appeal to some version of the thesis that the experiences we take as dreams are (at their best) qualitatively similar to the experiences we take as wakingcall this the Similarity Thesis.

Student Paper: Traditionally, there are two divergent dreamrelated skeptical suspicions. The one uncertainty destabilizes the conclusion that one is at the moment awakecall this the Presently Dreaming Skepticism. The other doubt destabilizes the judgment that one is ever awakecall this the Always Dreaming Skepticism. Both dreams doubt the appeal to some account of the idea that the experiences we take as dreams are, at their best, qualitatively alike to the experiences we take as wakingcall this the Likeness Idea.

Professor Comment: The mere change of words (underlined above) is nowhere near sufficient to make the ideas your own. Direct quotations, slightly modified quotations, as well as paraphrases must have citations to appropriate sources. What the student did in this case was not even properly classified as paraphrasing since the student did not take the material and put it in her own words. And even if she had paraphrased, citations would still be required.

Example #2 - Web Source: We give up our right to ourselves exact retribution for crimes in return for impartial justice backed by overwhelming force. We retain the right to life and liberty, and gain the right to just, impartial protection of our property.

Student Paper: First, in order to live with our rights preserved we give up the right to exact retribution for crimes against the law of nature in return for justice backed by the force of the societies government. Through the legislature we are able to retain the right to life and liberty and protect our property.

Professor Comment: Again, the deletion (in italics) or addition (underlined) of a few minor words and phrases is nowhere near sufficient to make the ideas your own.

Example #3 - Web Source: Friedrich Nietzsche is not only one of the most influential philosophers the world has seen, but he is also one of the most controversial. He has influenced twentieth century thought more than almost any other thinker. In his numerous works, Nietzsche constantly criticizes and restructures the strongly held philosophical and religious beliefs of his time. One such principle that he refutes belongs to his predecessor Rene' Descartes, and concerns the apparent distinction and significance of the human mind over the body.

Student Paper: Friedrich Nietzsche is not only one of the most influential philosophers the world has seen, but he is also one of the most controversial. He has influenced twentieth century thought more than almost any other thinker. In his numerous works, Nietzsche constantly criticizes and restructures the strongly held philosophical and religious beliefs of his time. One such principle that he refutes belongs to his predecessor Rene' Descartes, and concerns the apparent distinction and significance of the human mind over the body.

Professor Comment: Obviously, this is simply lifted word for word from an Internet source.

Example #4 - Source: Tryn Isaac was a wellsituated woman in Griqua society. As Adam Kok’s niece and a Christian, she belonged to the Griqua elite.

Student Paper: Tryn Isaac was an important woman in Griqua society. As Adam Kok’s niece and a Christian, she belonged to the Griqua elite (Women Writing Africa, p 109).

Professor Comment: Although the source is cited, this is still plagiarism because the student uses the author’s actual words without paraphrasing or without using quotation marks to indicate that the words were not the student’s.

What Can I Do to Avoid Plagiarism?

Remember the difference between direct and indirect quotation. If you use another’s ideas, but your own words, then you can cite the source as this student does. If you use the author’s words, you must indicate that by using quotation marks. Resources for Consultation in Cases of Doubt Starting spring 2002, each section of CWRRII is covering plagiarism. Hence, beginning with the class of 2005, every Millikin student (with the possible exception of transfer and exchange students) will have been exposed to the issue of plagiarism in a formal classroom setting. The following web sites have been constructed by Millikin University library staff, by staff at Northwestern University, and by Dr. Michael O’Connor of the Millikin University English Department. Each of these web sites provides students with detailed information about what plagiarism is and how to avoid it.

Plagarism Policy: A Guide For Students (Staley Library)
Northwestern University's Guide to Avoiding Plagiarism
Dr. O'Connor's Plagiarism Information Page
 
 
Millikin University - Decatur, IL
 
Millikin University - Decatur, IL
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