Plagiarism is Evil

Please take the time to read this article at Scientific American about plagiarism.  I want to stress two passages in particular.

Passage #1:

Ten years into this academic post and I’m still waiting for that plagiarism-free term.

That’s right.  There’s always some numbskull who thinks that they’re smarter than the millions of students who have gone before them and that they will get away with it.  I’ve been teaching since 1989, and it is quite frankly boringly repetitive: every year, someone thinks they’re more clever than me and that they’ll get away with it.

But they aren’t and they won’t.

Passage #2:

Plagiarism is evil. I used to think I was a big enough person not to take it personally if someone plagiarized on an assignment for my class. I now know that I was wrong about that. I take it very personally.

Plagiarism is dismissive of the people who have devoted their lives to the generation of knowledge.  Plagiarism is an abdication of any reasonable social norms.  It’s one of the highest possible forms of disrespect.  It shows the plagiarizer to be of poor character.  In short: it’s evil.

I’d love to be able to fail students who plagiarize (like the author of the SciAm piece), but Ryerson won’t let me.  Still, I will pursue the strongest possible punishment that I can.

But even this post will not stop it from happening.

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