Consequences of Plagiarism

As mentioned previously, the consequences of plagiarism are quite severe. To put it briefly, the minimum penalty for a student found guilty of plagiarism is that they do not pass the assignment they plagiarized. The maximum penalty would likely be expulsion from the university, which may have consequences for enrollment at other universities in the future. While the instructor may be asked to make a statement, the actual decision about whether or not a student is found guilty of plagiarism and the penalty is made by a separate committee of university officials.

There are a few other things to note about this process. In particular, as mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, the committee generally assumes that students have been trained in how to avoid plagiarism, and therefore that any plagiarism that occurs is deliberate cheating by the student, and therefore is punished more severely. The penalty is also more severe for graduate students than for undergraduate students, and for larger papers rather than smaller ones. Students have lost years of academic progress because they were caught plagiarizing papers and then expelled.

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