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What should be the punishment for plagiarism in an academic setting?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on October 4, 2006

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Photo of Rozi Kort

“I would say they should fail the class because they’re not trying hard enough if they have to resort to plagiarism.”

Photo of Michael Adams

“Obviously, if it’s intentional, they should just follow the university’s policy for dealing with it.”

Photo of Gina Skinner

“I think they should just fail the assignment and the rest of their papers should be examined more closely.”

Photo of Todd Wyant

“A failing grade for the class. I think that they’re in class to learn, and if they’ve plagiarized, then they’re not learning anything.”

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sgtwolverine 11 years, 3 months ago

The punishment could also be papercuts with the plagiarized paper. Any suggestions for determining the number of papercuts?

Teapot9 11 years, 3 months ago


Nancy Pelosi also said that this upcoming election shouldnt be about national security.

Charlie Rangel wants to get rid of the tax cut given to lower class Americans and take away the benefits of being married and having a child, the financial benefits from the government that is.

And all that Dems are worried about is some stupid scandal.

Linda Aikins 11 years, 3 months ago

An F*.

R_I, why do they have to be wearing false teeth?

sunflower_sue 11 years, 3 months ago

sometimes when, for reasons not understood by the normally good student, a teacher just thinks the student is only worthy of a grade no higher than a C. The teacher is obviously not reading the students work, just assigning a grade. In that case, the student must plagiarize an award winning paper to set a trap. When the award winning paper comes back with a "C," the teacher is caught. The student must then approach the jerk of a teacher and reveal what a louse the teacher is. After that, the students grades magically improve. I think that the embarrassment to the teacher is punishment enough. (Just speaking hypothetically, of course.)

H_Lecter 11 years, 3 months ago

Having to donate a kidney...or something else they might have two of.

Linda Aikins 11 years, 3 months ago

Girls against boys? I'm very competitive. Sue, are you finished with our pole? We may need it.

Ceallach 11 years, 3 months ago

november_sky: he's a politician, it will not be his fault for a long time . . . if ever!

acg 11 years, 3 months ago

If you can dodge traffic, you can dodge a ball.

Ceallach 11 years, 3 months ago

TOB: the "Flight over Bagdad" photo looked a lot like Lawrence, except they have better streets and bridges :)

omb: that sounds more like a fantasy

Ceallach 11 years, 3 months ago

inmate: kudos, again. You are our role model for succinct, yet witty posts. If I were younger I would volunteer to wait for you! Not knowing how long that might be, I feel I must move on :):)

Control: the inconsistent application of copyright restrictions is a real stumbling block for students. They can easily grow lax under one instructor and then be sliced and diced by the next.

ms_canada 11 years, 3 months ago

The culprit should be given an F and then should be made to hand write, I will not plagiarize ever again on pain of death, one thousand times in red ink.

Linda Aikins 11 years, 3 months ago

Can I be captain? I grew up around Dodge City; however, I drive a GMC.

sgtwolverine 11 years, 3 months ago

Sue, you're so right -- I'm not in the Blue Man Group.

Besides, even though the cheer is "Go Blue," Michigan's slogan this year is "Go Blue - Wear Maize." So if I were to make Michigan happy, I wouldn't be Blue; I'd be Maize.

Also, I am a little sad: the Tigers lost to the Yankees last night.

Ceallach 11 years, 3 months ago

"one party does not have the moral high ground" . . bea

I totally agree, bea. As long a people are involved we can be sure some of them will mess up . . repeatedly . . seldom take responsibility . . and be defended to the death by their respective yellow dogs.

Ceallach 11 years, 3 months ago

Oh yes, plagiarism (I'm so proud of the LJW staff, they spelled it correctly :) it is often difficult to prove intentional plagiarism. Unless the student is so stupid they copy paragraph after paragraph, they can easily use too much direct information from their source(s), particularly the younger students. If it is intentional they should receive and F on the assignment and be put on academic probation.

The KU Student Handbook includes several pages to help students and staff understand the ins and outs of copyright violations. Without understanding copyright laws and "Fair Use" limitations, writers are at risk.

Teapot9 11 years, 3 months ago

If it is proven beyond a reasonable doubt an automatic "F" should be applied. The second time it should result in the failing of the course EVEN if it is not the course you originally commited the infraction. The third time should be a suspension for one semester. The fourth time an academic year. Fifth time barred from any and all state Universities.

sunflower_sue 11 years, 3 months ago

Ceal, you could start a doggie/inmate training program...but that would just be copying.

For Gootsie...(;o))

Redzilla 11 years, 3 months ago

I liked the policy at USF, where we instructors could use With fully documented plagiarism: automatic F in the class and a permanent mark on your record indicating that you were guilty of academic dishonesty. So, basically, anytime a student requested his transcripts, that academic dishonesty remark was included. Ouch.

audvisartist 11 years, 3 months ago

Automatic F in the class at the very least. Harsh, I know, but so what?

jonas 11 years, 3 months ago

Wow, Larry. Are you assembling your straw-man army?

Larry 11 years, 3 months ago

BUT.... what if this student had been working late last night and didn't get a chance to study. OR what if they were involved in athletic competition or working a job or had a break up with their significant other. OR what if they were abused as a child or what if they didn't have a father living at home as a child or what if the teacher didn't adequately prepare them for the test or what if the classroom was too cold or what if the sun was shinning to bright that day and gave the student a headache or what if the AC unit was too noisy that day or what if some other student made a comment that was sexually explicit and it upset the student or what if a mosquito bit them on the way to class or what if their beloved Jayhawks lost a close game last weekend and they've been physically/emotionally spent for the past few days, unable to study or concentrate or what if their new medicines haven't adjusted to their body. All of these things MUST be considered before we dish out any kind of punishment. Isn't that right BLUE COUNTY OF KANSAS.

ControlFreak 11 years, 3 months ago

Thank you Ceallach for letting everyone know that KU already has a policy in place (including punishments) for dealing with plagiarism. Some previous posts acted like KU did not have a policy.

From experience, I can say that the first day of class is typically spent going over the rules and policies of KU. After that, the teachers spends some time discussing the syllabus (which also usually includes a section devoted to plagiarism).

So, if a student has a syllabus, then they know the policy (or the punishment) for plagiarism at the very beginning of the semester.

Sometimes though, the citation requirements are just silly. For example, when I had to write scientific research papers, I had to cite every piece of information regardless of where I happened to find out about it (just information, not quotations).

I even had to cite my textbook, even though I wasn't using direct quotes. One research paper I wrote was only 7 pages long, but almost every line was cited. It was ridiculous. It turned out to be more than 50 footnotes!

acg 11 years, 3 months ago

You guys are cracking me up this morning. What a great bunch of imaginations you all have.

The guilty party should be staked naked to an fireant hill and slathered with honey or molasses. Then they should have to remain there, enduring the pain of the bites of the fireants while my idiot High School English teacher reads them The Tales of Canterbury in his signature monotone.

beatrice 11 years, 3 months ago

I think they should be forced to serve as a Congressional Page for a Republican congressman. (1)

  1. Mate, In. "Response to Question of the Day," Lawrence Journal World ( on line), Oct. 4, 2006 - entry 12, Section B.

beatrice 11 years, 3 months ago

Teapot, how about this: "I want you, you little page boy, in the worst way. Come to my place for major hot sex action tonight, and I'll pay you big dollars." Congressman Foley text message direct quote, Sept. 17, 2004.

Does it matter that I just made that up? At least it isn't plagiarized.

Without getting too political today, this Foley scandal should, once and for all, prove that one party does not have the moral high ground over the other. It is time to focus on issues, and not if one party is made up of "better" people than the other. That is so 2000.

Linda Aikins 11 years, 3 months ago

I am spewing oatmeal all over my keyboard - you all are on top of this today!

(Just kidding on the spewing - added for enhancement.)

They could alternate hot dogs and paper cuts with how many words are in the stolen property.

(I know, that is absolutely hilarious, but don't use it. I'll know.)

(It is National Parenthesis Day)

Redzilla 11 years, 3 months ago

Hey, Bea, how about in MLA format...or Chicago Manual of Style?

ControlFreak 11 years, 3 months ago


Yes, I know the policy exists.

I was thanking you for pointing it out to those people who thought it didn't.

I've had to read it several times.

RonBurgandy 11 years, 3 months ago

Cheating is cheating. Not giving credit to the original writer is wrong as well as not doing your own work.

It is not really plagerism if you copy the entire paper and then cite the whole thing is it?

cantbelievemyeyes 11 years, 3 months ago

Teapot9 You are kidding, right?? President Clinton was impeach for a scandal that had NOTHING to do with his office..and you are upset about the Dems making a big deal about a Senator soliciting young boys? wow, you scare me

sgtwolverine 11 years, 3 months ago

TOB, I'm not Blue, but I think Christie should be given the very punishment she suggested. Doesn't that seem appropriate?

Teapot9 11 years, 3 months ago

NOTHING to do with his office? It happened in his office and maybe there are some stains of it on the floor. Clinton had so many scandals its embarassing. Also Dems were aware of this for awhile and now they start the malarkey. Just playing politics as usual. I dont know where said "soliciting" took place Id love to see a direct quote from either an email or text message.

sunflower_sue 11 years, 3 months ago

"Damn, bea!" Oops! Did I just plagiarize TOB? Sorry.

Ken Miller 11 years, 3 months ago

What punishment did Sen. Joe Biden receive?

christie 11 years, 3 months ago

Be sent to Washington as a Page for a Republican Congressman.

Ceallach 11 years, 3 months ago

Control, et al: plagairism, by student or staff, is academic misconduct and covered by the University Senate Rules and Regulations. If you are interested in the details

Codes, policies, laws and guidelines are a big part of my life :-\

trinity 11 years, 3 months ago

yarg, make 'em walk the plank, maties!

oh-it's not talk like a pirate day, huh...well then, OFF with their heads! gootsie it took me awhile but i finally got the "indentured" reference-and then i laughed alot! ;)

tattoo "i'm a plagiarist" on their forehead. seriously, fail the assignment, and go on some sort of academic probation; double secret probation if need be.

sunflower_sue 11 years, 3 months ago

Ron, I think he was referring to the those "blue men" on TV commercials.

jonas 11 years, 3 months ago

A twenty four hour confinement in a small room with Conservativeman.

Topside 11 years, 3 months ago

DANG, got some tough monkeys in here. Must be academieans (?). Anyway it depends...some professors are real hard noses about it and get bent out of shape if you forget to close a parenthesis or something or put a comma where a colon should be in the bibliography. I say no big deal, the intent was there

Conversely, if it is just a straight cut and paste job from a google article then F for sure.

Bone777 11 years, 3 months ago

The offending party should have to defend his paper on this post against Bea. After that, no doubt, they should receive an...

F - for Frikin' whooped

sunflower_sue 11 years, 3 months ago

Goots, Oh captain, my you can pick me. (I'm highly competitive.):oD

Does this mean RI is the other captain? (I'm sure we can crush whatever team he musters up.)

trinity 11 years, 3 months ago

i drive a dodge can i play too?? i'm finished with my lunch&i've recopied the front page of the paper for my current events project! ;)

sunflower_sue 11 years, 3 months ago

Trinity, the more, the merrier!

Yeah, Goots, you can have your pole back. What did you use to polish it? It was very shiny!

(I can't wait to see the boys' team all decked out in their pleather uniforms.)

beatrice 11 years, 3 months ago

I'm the enforcer -- kookoo ka choo

Goots, you can be on my team any day.

Now, picture actually playing dodgeball at work -- in your present work space, where ever that may be. For some, it would be the sudden appearance of someone from above your cubicle and -- Wham! -- a ball bounces off your head. Your out. Picture cornering a workmate in their own office -- no place is safe. Middle of a meeting - Bam! - out goes the CEO. Go ahead, Goots, use the pole for defense. All is far.

Oh, if life were only like that.

acg 11 years, 3 months ago

Bea, that's great. That's reminiscient to me of that old commercial for the office linebacker. Office dodgeball would rock, especially around all of this expensive equipment. All I can picture is bouncing one right off my boss' bald head and the look of shock and surprise he'd have on his face would almost be worth job hunting. :)

Linda Aikins 11 years, 3 months ago

Oh do I have a couple of faces to use in that vision. Men, of course. What do we name our ball?

I think the guys will be using ***.

You'd have to ask my domestic unit what was used for polish! ;)

Ceallach 11 years, 3 months ago

blue: as a registered independent, may I at least be referee?

sunflower_sue 11 years, 3 months ago

blue, everybody knows that you ask the libertarians where the card catalog is and you putt on the greens. duh! :)

RonBurgandy 11 years, 3 months ago

I have a dartboard in my cube that keeps me busy.

kubug 11 years, 3 months ago

As a journalism student, we are reminded each semester clearly and repeatedly what plagarism is and what will happen if we do it: expulsion from the school. If you're dumb enough to do, then you deserve whatever you get and more. It is unacceptable on any account.

Ceallach 11 years, 3 months ago

Good question, blue. Oh, wait, maybe they could be the balls. On second thought, so few have a grasp of the balls philosophy, that probably wouldn't work either. Hmmm, maybe cheerleaders?

pelliott 11 years, 3 months ago

First the teacher should have the option of in class discipline, it is their class and their responsibility. If the student decides to appeal and is found by the dept. or someone to be guilty, then I think they should fail the class. I think there should be consideration if there is another offense or if some other type of fraud is discovered, then expulsion. This is unlikely to happen. Cheating should be a BIG deal.

bjamnjm 11 years, 3 months ago

Make them eat the plagiarized document.

Dodge, dip, duck, dive, dodge.

AlexFenton 11 years, 3 months ago

Didn't the University of Kansas copy their plagiarism policy from some other university?

Kat Christian 11 years, 3 months ago

Make them travel around all the roundabouts in town for a week and they only get fruit cake and water for meals. And good point Alex

roger_o_thornhill 11 years, 3 months ago

If you cheat you should be asked to leave--at least for a year or two--if not forever. Just imagine how many people have cheated their way through school already. This is a VERY SERIOUS problem. It isn't as little of a deal as the four interviewees seem to think. These are the so-called "future leaders" of the country. What if they cheated their way through school? Where will we all be then? Oh, that's right, we'd be about where we are now. How many people reading this have cheated in school?

GardenMomma 11 years, 3 months ago

How about a CEO job or some other high-scruples job?

Seriously, the punishment should be automatic F and put on a "watch-out" list.

And, FYI, business majors are far more likely to cheat than science majors. Just found that tidbit at little interesting.

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