Every year students sit down for the first day of class and immediately receive a syllabus outlining the Marietta College plagiarism policy. Despite this practice, there were 25 reports of plagiarism on campus last semester, according to the Provost Office.
In order for a report to be filed, a faculty member must first suspect a student of academic dishonesty and meet with them privately for a discussion, according to the Associate Provost for Academic Administration, Mark Miller. The faculty also involves the department chair. If, after hearing the student’s explanation, the faculty still thinks there has been academic dishonesty, they will meet with the department chair to impose a penalty. Penalties can range from lowering the assignment grade to failing the class. The student, and the Provosts office, is then informed of the accusation and penalty.
According to Miller, the Provost Office then checks to see if it is a first offense or more for the student. If it is a second or third offence the Provost, with the consultation of Mark Miller and Suzanne Walker, decides whether to keep the original penalty or intensify the ruling. Depending on the offence, the Provost can even rule to have the student removed from the school. The office then sends a letter to notify the student. Then, the student accused of academic dishonesty can appeal the charge.
There are “three types of appeals students can give,” said Miller. They can argue that there is a lack of evidence against them, that there is new evidence the professor does not understand, or that they were not given their rights. A committee is informed of the appeal and, after meeting with the faculty and student separately, decides whether to affirm the accusation or grant the appeal. The entire process is “intended as a character building life lesson,” said Mark Miller.
Another outlet for support a student can turn to is the Writing Center. Keira Hambrick serves as the Academic Support Coordinator on campus and spends the majority of her days working with students in her Bartlett 370 office or the Thomas 222 Writing Center.
“In a lot of cases it’s actually accidental,” she said about instances of student plagiarism on campus, “I think they just don’t always know what plagiarism is and therefore how to avoid it.” She added that Thomas 222 helps supply the answers students need in an area that is free from the penalization that could occur from attempting “trial and error” in a classroom.
Students can sign up to meet with a student tutor in the Writing Center via the online portal included in the Marietta College website. Student tutors are one of the best resources the campus has to offer, according to Hambrick, and the student tutors appear to agree. “It’s so rewarding to be a part of that process,” said tutor Kaitlyn Cozzens, adding that she was at first reluctant to try tutoring.
Keira Hambrick also suggests students’ talk to their faculty. “Any opportunity for students to connect with their faculty is a good thing,” she said. Hambrick and Miller both agree: professors would rather take the time to avoid instances of plagiarism than to report them.