Plagiarism is the act of appropriating and using the ideas, writings, or works of original expressions of another person as one's own without giving credit to the person who created the work. This may encompass portions of a work or an entire work. Works of original expression include but are not limited to papers, speeches, poetry, movies, videos, protected pieces of art, illustrations and musical compositions.
Plagiarism can result from either deliberate dishonesty or ignorance of citational procedures. Deliberate plagiarism is especially serious and warrants more severe sanctions, but even plagiarism based on ignorance of procedures is a punishable offense, especially when it occurs more than once. Any student who seeks clarification on what constitutes plagiarism should consult the pamphlet "Plagiarism Explained" which is available at the SJU and CSB Writing Centers.
Plagiarism is an act of dishonesty and violates the mission and spirit of the educational enterprise at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University. It also violates the rights of other students.
I. General Procedure
- A professor proves that a student has plagiarized. The burden of proof rests with the professor; he or she must present compelling evidence of plagiarism. However, in contested cases it is the duty of the student to provide detailed information about the generative process of the work.
- The professor meets with the student and presents the evidence of plagiarism.
- If the student agrees that plagiarism has occurred, a punishment is determined and a written acknowledgment is signed by the professor, the student and a third party witness to guarantee that the student has been shown the agreement and read it. The evidence of plagiarism and the written acknowledgments are then placed in a closed file in the office of the respective academic dean.
- If in spite of the evidence presented by the professor the student maintains his or her innocence, the student may contact the academic dean and request that an appeals process be initiated. The evidence of plagiarism will be witnessed in writing by a third party before going into the closed file. The accused student will acknowledge in writing that he or she has viewed the evidence. Refusal on the part of the student to view the evidence, and/or to acknowledge having viewed it, will not prevent punishment nor prevent the case from going into the closed file. The punishment determined by the professor will stand unless and until the student is found innocent on appeal. If the student is found innocent on appeal the material will be removed from the closed file and destroyed. A student accused of plagiarism who maintains his/her innocence has the right to remain enrolled in the course while the appeal process is pending.
- The closed file located in the dean's office will be destroyed two years after a student has graduated.
- The proof of guilt in a first offense does not imply any assumption of guilt when a student is accused in a future case.
Penalties for plagiarism vary according to whether the case involves a first or a repeat offense, and according to the character of the offense itself (whether resulting from ignorance or deliberate deception). If the evidence of plagiarism comes to light only after course grades have been turned in, the professor may change the course grade retroactively.
- The penalty for a first offense of plagiarism is failure of the course in which the plagiarism occurred. This penalty may be reduced if in the professor's judgment the plagiarism was not deliberately deceptive but resulted from ignorance of proper citation procedures. However, even in cases where the penalty is reduced the evidence will go into the closed file.
- The process of written acknowledgement and closed file described in section I will be implemented.
- The dean will inform the professor in which the most recent offense occurred that this is a second offense. This will occur after the professor has presented the evidence to a third party and the student has had the opportunity either to admit to plagiarism or initiate an appeal.
- The student is required to meet with the professor and the academic dean.
- The student will fail the course in which the plagiarism occurred.
- The student may be suspended or expelled from the college. This decision will be made by the dean in consultation with the professor from the more recent course in which the student was found to have plagiarized.
- The process of written acknowledgment and closed file described in section I will be implemented.
- If a student commits two acts of plagiarism nearly simultaneously, both of which are judged to have resulted from ignorance rather than dishonesty, at the dean's discretion the case may be classified as a first rather than second offense.
- The dean will inform the professor in which the most recent offense occurred that this is a third offense. This will occur after the professor has presented the evidence to a third party and the student has had the opportunity either to admit to plagiarism or initiate an appeal.
- The student will fail the class in which the plagiarism occurred.
- The student will be expelled from the college.
- The steps of written acknowledgement and closed file described in section I will be implemented.