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Accused of academic dishonesty

yoomb0yoomb0 Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
edited June 2017 in College Life
I just wrapped up my freshman year. I go to one of the top 15 universities too. And I took this first year seminar where it consisted of writing research papers. So about a week after turning in my final research paper, I got an email saying I was turned in for academic dishonesty for plagiarism by my professor. He uses the Turnitin software that detects plagiarism and it reported that I got a 38% (which is ridiculously high). Grades were already turned in for the year too. I looked over it and a lot of it consisted of minor things like "the average college student" while others were a bit worse. I admit that I originally used a lot of copy and paste material in the first drafts but later revised them. And I tried online plagiarism checkers and they all said I was ok. I'm not allowed to talk to my professor and if I fail a freshman seminar class, I'm not quite sure what'll happen. I didn't even plagiarize that much but should I just go ahead and confess and get a notice on my transcript? (I'm hoping to go to law school and I'm afraid this will mess up my chances). Or should I just try to justify myself? I really can't have this mistake mess up my future. I've been accused before in the same class but it was a minor misunderstanding of turning in the wrong paper and I was let go without any consequences. But I fear this time I may not be let off the hook so easily. I really don't want a mistake I made in my freshman year in a class that I really didn't enjoy to screw up 6 more years of school and my internship/work future. I know I'm a good student and I really regret slacking off and not doing my best on this last paper. But I just don't know what to do if I get this. I can never face my parents again. I'm having a phone call meeting with him tomorrow

Replies to: Accused of academic dishonesty

  • rhandcorhandco Registered User Posts: 4,292 Senior Member
    38%? I've seen people get away with 70% :(

    If you are accused, you have a right to go in front of a committee to defend yourself. Most colleges are more lenient the higher you go up the chain for plagiarism, unless the paper is literally a duplicate.

    You should go to the Dean of Students and bawl your eyes out. You should have a right to review the results of the plagiarism program.

    Except: If you worked with someone else in the class, that's much worse than random internet references.
  • yoomb0yoomb0 Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
    My paper isn't a duplicate but there are some parts where it's pretty similar to the sources which I cited.

    And if I do report to a council, will it be on my record? I saw the results of the plagiarism report and there are some parts again. I'm planning on thoroughly going over it and making my defense for tomorrow.

    But I did not work with someone else in the class
  • zannahzannah Registered User Posts: 1,089 Senior Member
    I guess you were not given an opportunity to explain yourself because of a previous accusation. So, what is your defense. You didn't plagiarize that much but you were not told a small amount was acceptable. You say you didn't really enjoy the class. So what---some classes may be interesting, but the majority will be ok. College does not guarantee a good time unless it is stated on the syllabus. You say you didn't do your best and slacked off You should expect your grades to drop or you were insufficiently vigilant about plagiarism.

    I am unclear how you think you can defend yourself. Instead, find out the appropriate person to talk to, perhaps the person who takes care of judicial affairs or dismissal from school. Find out exactly what you must do and not do. Perhaps even getting a better understanding of plagiarism and appropriate referencing.

    You don't say who you are speaking to, but if it is the person who decides on punishment find out your options for the current incident and what you need to do to stop academic misbehavior. I don't think faculty or administration want to ruin your whole life. They want you to act honestly as you pursue your future. Listen and take their punishment and suggestions. No silly excuses. Be an adult. Tell your parents what happened and the repercussions. Expect them to be justifiably angry for a large stretch of time. Like George Washington, you did it with you own little hatchet.
  • dfbdfbdfbdfb Registered User Posts: 3,825 Senior Member
    First of all, admit that you messed up, and don't try to self-justify. (And what do you mean you can't meet him, but you're meeting with him?)

    Yeah, any of us who use plagiarism checkers no to disregard the things like "the average college student", but what counts as stuff being a bit worse? That's a rather important bit of underdefinition here in what you describe. Also, keep in mind that plagiarism isn't limited to direct quotes—uncited ideas count, too.

    But if you started with a copy-paste from other sources without including citations at the outset—memo to pretty much everybody: don't do that, ever—I have to wonder how you learned to do research papers. If you're at a top-15 institution you presumably had a decent amount of college-prep experience, so one would expect you'd know how to do things better than that (and your professor knows that, too).

    As far as what will happen from this point: At most institutions, any grade penalty is at the discretion of the professor. Therefore, don't try to fake your way through things in your discussion with him—seriously, speaking as a professor, that's just annoying, and you don't want to be annoying at this point. As for whether there's a notice on your transcript, that's entirely dependent on the policies at your institution, so no prediction. There will be an internal record at your university, though, so don't even begin to think that you'll be able to "slip by" with anything in the future—you're now, quite literally, on the list.
  • yoomb0yoomb0 Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
    I'm meeting the dean of the school to explain my situation tomorrow. And I cited pretty much every evidence I gave in my research paper. I admit there was one or two sentences where it was word for word. But I cited it (I don't think that really helps tbh). My defense I guess at this point was that it genuinely was unintentional. I used about 4-5 online plagarizing checker sites, talked with my professor on how to make this a better essay, and even went to my colleges writing center for help. I really did try my best and make this a good essay. I don't know how it turned out like this. I hated this first year seminar but I still tried. My main concern is that everything is happening my freshman year. If this goes on my transcript, I'm basically screwed for law school so why try for the next three years. Why try at anything cause my future looks bleak. I don't mind if they put it on the internal system cause I know I definitely will not do something like this again. I don't even mind if they fail me and my gpa drops cause I know I can do better and raise it again. It's just that stupid mark on the transcript.
  • CheddarcheeseMNCheddarcheeseMN Registered User Posts: 3,140 Senior Member
    Perhaps they will agree to giving you an F for the paper or the course and not note the plagiarism on your transcript. Let us know what happens. Other than familiarizing yourself with the charges, I 'm also not sure how you will be preparing a defense.
  • happy1happy1 Forum Champion Parents, Forum Champion Admissions Posts: 23,959 Forum Champion
    edited June 2017
    I'm confused, if you properly quoted and cited something taken from another source in your paper, it is not plagiarism.
  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn Super Moderator Posts: 38,593 Super Moderator
    It sounds like the quotes weren't in quotation marks.
  • happy1happy1 Forum Champion Parents, Forum Champion Admissions Posts: 23,959 Forum Champion
    ^^^^Well, that would be a problem....
This discussion has been closed.