Flavia at Ferule and Fescue wrote recently about snagging some plagiarists in an upper-level class for majors, and she writes about how sad it makes her although of course she’s standing up for fairness and academic integrity. Go read the whole thing, but here’s a little end of term/exam week plea for students:
[T]his is what I’d like to tell my plagiarists, and what I wish they’d hear and believe:
“You did something unethical, and you knew it was unethical; ‘giving you a break’ would be unfair to your classmates and it would be unfair to you; it’s my job to enforce academic standards and to see that you wrestle honestly with tough intellectual tasks. You’re selling yourself short when you think that you can’t come up with good ideas or write a good paper on your own. You will fail this class and the academic dishonesty charge will go on your record. But if you repeat the class, the ‘F’ will disappear, and if this is your first violation–and you never have another–you’ll get to stay at RU and there will be no indication of this on your transcript. “This doesn’t make you a bad person. It makes you a person who f^(cked up, and there are consequences when you f^(k up. But you can make things right over the long term, if you want to.”
This $hit breaks my heart.
Message to students: We care. Please don’t f^(k up. But know this: we will work you over if you f^)k up, and it will hurt you more than it hurts us, for realz. In my experience, it never pays to give a plagiarist a break. Hang’em high, regretfully if you must, but hang’em high, friends.