I have heard of students being suspended for entire semesters or even expelled for plagiarizing, and all I can ask is why does everyone treat it like the plague Howard describes it as? Yes, the internet makes sources more readily available and easier to copy. But honestly, any student willing to pay someone else to do their work for them is probably not going to see that suspension as a punishment or learn anything from it. So tell me, when did universities become the place where the punishment doesn’t fit the crime?
I also think the UD code of conduct on plagiarism is far too strict. Students are going to compare answers and often share notes or work together, yet they fail because it’s deemed plagiarizing. They’re doing the work and told it’s not theirs. There are only so many answers you can get on a lab report or a math problem before people have overlapping submissions. When did teachers become police? Professor Howard certainly thinks people are going too far. “All those who worked to get advanced academic degrees in order to police young adults, please raise your hands. No hands? Then let’s calm down and get back to the business of teaching.” She’s right. Not everyone who ‘plagiarizes’ is copying an entire paper from someone else word for word and just changing the name on the top. The issue is not so black and white. Sometimes people just forget to put quotations around something that isn’t their own.
I really like the fact that a professor is telling people to calm down. She gets it. There’s a whole lot of different circumstances behind cheating or plagiarism. But the punishment should fit the crime, if there is a crime at all, not just a rushed, all-nighter and caffeine induced mistake.