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Plagiarism: Don't let it happen to you!

Rockhurst Academic Honesty Policy

Philosophical Statement: 
Rockhurst University is a learning community. Consistent with the mission and purpose and the Judeo-Christian principles the University seeks to foster within its whole community, it is expected that academic honesty and integrity guide the actions of all its members. It is the responsibility of every person in the academic community—faculty members, students, and administrators—to ensure that academic dishonesty or misconduct is not tolerated.

  1. Definition 
    Academic honesty includes adherence to guidelines pertaining to integrity established for a given course as well as those established by the University for conducting academic, administrative, and research functions. All forms of academic dishonesty or misconduct are prohibited. The examples given are not intended to be all inclusive of the various kinds of academic dishonesty, cheating, plagiarism, or misappropriation which may occur. Examples include but are not limited to the following:
    1. Cheating
      1. Copying, or the offering, requesting, receiving or using of unauthorized assistance or information in examinations, texts, reports, computer programs, term papers or other assignments.
      2. Attempting to change answers after an exam has been submitted.
    2. Plagiarism
      1. The appropriation of ideas, language, or work of another without sufficient attribution or acknowledgment that the work is not one’s own.
      2. Violations include but are not limited to:
        1. submitting as one’s own work material copied from a published source.
        2. submitting as one’s own work someone else’s unpublished work.
        3. submitting as one’s own work a rewritten or paraphrased version of some one else’s work.
        4. allowing someone or paying someone to write a paper or other assignment to be submitted as one’s own.
        5. utilizing a purchased pre-written paper or other assignment.
    3. Manipulation, alteration, or destruction of another student’s academic work or of faculty material.
    4. The unauthorized removal, mutilation or deliberate concealment of library or other resource material or collections.
    5. Unauthorized use of University facilities, equipment or other property, including computer accounts and files.
    6. Any other act which might give one an unearned advantage in evaluation or performance.

II.  Academic Dishonesty: Procedure, Penalties and Due Process

  1. Level 1—Informal Disposition 
    As much as possible, a member of the faculty, staff or administration (hereafter referred to as University representative) will deal individually with suspected violations of the Academic Dishonesty Policy. Level 1—Informal Disposition constitutes the initial level of action, including resolution. The University representative who suspects that such a violation has occurred will confer with the student, present support, listen to and evaluate the student’s explanation, and then, if the student is found to have violated the Academic Honesty Policy, impose a penalty based upon the findings. Penalties relate to specific violations and may include but are not limited to:
    1. warning the student;
    2. lowering the grade of the assignment or examination or the assignment of a failing grade for the semester;
    3. requiring the student to repeat the assignment or examination;
    4. compulsory school or community service;
    5. other penalties as deemed appropriate.

      The student will be provided with a written Level 1 decision by the University representative within three working days of conferring with the student, addressed to the student’s last known local or permanent address on file with the University. A student who wishes to appeal the Level 1 decision must indicate her/his intent to appeal in writing within one working day of the written Level 1 decision delivered to the appropriate dean’s office.
  2. Level 2—Academic Disciplinary Board 
    The Academic Disciplinary Board:
    1. may decide appeals of Level 1 decisions brought by students;
    2. may decide Level 1 cases brought by the University representative if the University representative is of the opinion the allegations are serious or warrant stricter sanctions than those available under Level 1; and
    3. on it’s own initiative, may review any Level 1 decision.


For more information, consult the Academic Honesty Policy on the Registrar website.

Consequences of Plagiarism

The consequences of plagiarism can be personal, professional, ethical, and legal. With plagiarism detection software so readily available and in use, plagiarists are being caught at an alarming rate. Once accused of plagiarism, a person will most likely always be regarded with suspicion. Ignorance is not an excuse. Plagiarists include academics, professionals, students, journalists, authors, and others.

The consequences of plagiarism are far-reaching and no one is immune. Neither ignorance nor stature excuses a person from the ethical and legal ramifications of committing plagiarism. Before attempting any writing project, learn about plagiarism. Find out what constitutes plagiarism and how to avoid it. The rules are easy to understand and follow. If there is any question about missing attribution, try using an online plagiarism checker or plagiarism detection software to check your writing for plagiarism before turning it in. Laziness or dishonesty can lead to a ruined reputation, the loss of a career, and legal problems.


Destroy your education reputation.  You may be suspended or expelled from school. Your academic record can reflect the ethics offense, possibly causing you to be barred from entering higher education schools (graduate school, medical school, law school, etc.).

Destroy your professional reputation.  A professional business person, politician, or public figure may find that the damage from plagiarism follows them for their entire career. Not only will they likely be fired or asked to step down from their present position, but they will surely find it difficult to obtain another respectable job. Depending on the offense and the plagiarist’s public stature, his or her name may become ruined, making any kind of meaningful career impossible.

Destroy academic reputation.  If you choose to become a instructor at a college or university and plagiarize your work can ruin your career.  The consequences of plagiarism have been widely reported in the world of academia. Once scarred with plagiarism allegations, an academic’s career can be ruined. Publishing is an integral part of a prestigious academic career. To lose the ability to publish most likely means the end of an academic position and a destroyed reputation.

Legal Repercussions.  The legal repercussions of plagiarism can be quite serious. Copyright laws are absolute. One cannot use another person’s material without citation and reference. An author has the right to sue a plagiarist. Some plagiarism may also be deemed a criminal offense, possibly leading to a prison sentence. Those who write for a living, such as journalists or authors, are particularly susceptible to plagiarism issues. Those who write frequently must be ever-vigilant not to err. Writers are well-aware of copyright laws and ways to avoid plagiarism. As a professional writer, to plagiarize is a serious ethical and perhaps legal issue.

Monetary Repercussions.  Many recent news reports and articles have exposed plagiarism by journalists, authors, public figures, and researchers. In the case where an author sues a plagiarist, the author may be granted monetary restitution. In the case where a journalist works for a magazine, newspaper or other publisher, or even if a student is found plagiarizing in school, the offending plagiarist could have to pay monetary penalties.

Plagiarized Research.  Plagiarized research is an especially egregious form of plagiarism. If the research is medical in nature, the consequences of plagiarism could mean the loss of peoples’ lives. This kind of plagiarism is particularly heinous.

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