Core Humanities at the University of Nevada

We expect all students in Core Humanities to do their own work. Copying someone else's work, or allowing your own work to be copied, is dishonest and unfair to other students who are striving to complete assignments and essays on their own. The Academic Standards section of the university catalog defines plagiarism as “submitting the language, ideas, thoughts or work of another as one’s own; or assisting in the act of plagiarism by allowing one’s work to be used in this fashion.” Plagiarism is a serious form of academic misconduct and has serious consequences, as explained below. It is very important to understand what kinds of actions are defined as academic dishonesty, along with the sanctions that will be applied for such actions.

Plagiarism does not just mean copying someone else’s entire paper or article. “The work of another” includes any material used in your assignments and essays that was written by others. Copying brief phrases or sentences from books, articles, internet sites, documents, or other sources without letting your reader know where they came from is a form of plagiarism. You must properly acknowledge your use of other people’s words by placing them in quotation marks and citing all sources used in your paper. Even if you paraphrase someone else’s ideas and do not quote them directly, you still must acknowledge your source. Citations should also be given for little-known facts and statistics.

Citations generally include the author’s name, title of the work, and page number, and may appear in parentheses within the body of the essay or in a footnote. You should also include a bibliography at the end of your paper listing the full publication information for all sources used (e.g., author’s name, title of the work, publication place, publisher’s name, and date of publication). Be sure to follow any specific guidelines your instructor provides for citing sources, or ask your instructor how to cite sources if you are not sure. Unintentional as well as intentional plagiarism can land you in trouble, so make sure you understand what plagiarism is and how to properly cite sources. There is a very helpful video tutorial linked from the sidebar on the right that can provide further guidance.

We have seen some cases of plagiarism in Core Humanities involving students who copied assignments from other students who took the course in a previous semester, or students who collaborated on assignments and turned in virtually identical answers to the questions. Note that under UNR's academic dishonesty policy, these actions are punishable with academic or disciplinary sanctions for ALL of the students involved—i.e., those who assist cheating students as well as the cheating students themselves. Copying another student's work places that student at risk of an academic dishonesty charge as well as you. Do not copy other students' work, and do not allow your own work to be used in this way.

The university’s Academic Standards policy lists the following possible punishments for plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty:

(1) filing a final grade of “F”; (2) reducing the student’s final course grade one or two full grade points; (3) awarding a failing mark on the test or paper in question; (4) requiring the student to retake the test or resubmit the paper.

The Grade Appeal policy prohibits instructors from treating some students more harshly than others. Therefore, Core Humanities instructors choose one of the above sanctions and apply it consistently to all students in the course. We do not apply sanctions on a case-by-case basis depending on the severity of the offense or taking into account the circumstances of individual students. All students charged with academic dishonesty receive the same sanction.

The most common punishment applied in the Core Humanities program is to file a final grade of F. Students may not withdraw from a course to avoid an F for academic dishonesty, and it cannot be removed by retaking the course. The F grade stays on the transcript permanently and is calculated into the GPA, which could affect the student’s academic standing, scholarships, financial aid, or graduation plans. The F is not subject to a grade appeal unless the student has reason to believe that other students charged with academic dishonesty in the same section of the course received a lighter sanction. In addition, all incidents of plagiarism and cheating are reported to the Office of Student Conduct and become part of the student’s academic record. Potential employers as well as the directors of graduate and professional programs to which students may apply can request copies of these records, in which case the academic dishonesty charge will be disclosed.

A student accused of academic dishonesty may appeal the charge at an academic integrity hearing. A board comprised of faculty and students will examine the evidence to see if plagiarism or cheating occurred. The board bases its decision on the evidence, not the student’s intent. Whether the action was intentional or accidental is irrelevant at an academic integrity hearing. This is why it is so important to understand what constitutes plagiarism and cheating and avoid actions that could be construed as academic dishonesty. If you are not sure whether an action you are contemplating is allowed, either don’t do it or check with your instructor first.

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