Getting blamed for plagerism in college I didn't do...

frenchtoast

Member
Jul 5, 2009
659
0
Roanoke, VA
Okay, I am a senior in college, and will be graduating in May. For one of my major classes, we had to do a group project. There were 4 people in this group, and so we divided up the work equally. For this project, I did research on our subject matter, and did the powerpoint. 2 of the other girls did research as well, and then we sent all of our research to one girl to put into paper form. I didn't see the paper before it was handed in, as I've been in groups with this girl before, and thought that she would do a good job. A few weeks later, we all get letters from our teacher saying our paper was plagerized! I was shocked. I know that in college, plagerism is taken very seriously, and I was afraid I was going to be kicked out of college. The consequences that we have now is that I am getting a 0 on the paper, have to go to an honor code seminar, and will be put on probation with the school until I graduate. We also have to meet with the dean of our college, and it's really embarassing for me to sit in there with her, when I feel as if I'm not guilty of this charge. The 0 on the project is going to bring my grade down a letter grade, and this will be going on my background report, so it could possibly hurt me in getting a job. The thing that I find unfair is that I personally didn't plagerise. It was only one girl from our group, and the whole group is getting blamed for this. I've told my teacher that I didn't write the paper or have anything to do with it. I really don't know what to do about this situation, or how to make it better, and am having a hard time just accepting this since I personally didn't do it. I realize now I should have looked over the paper before it was turned it, but like I said I've done multiple projects with this girl, and it has always been fine. We have the option of appealing this decision, but that goes to a hearing, with a different panel of 'judges.' These judges could find that the consequences our teacher gave us were too light, and give us a 0 in the entire course. I'm so afraid of that happeneding as it will prevent me from graduating in May, and I will have to come back next fall for this one course. Does anyone have any suggestions??
 
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natalie78

Did you die?
O.G.
May 6, 2008
5,035
12
Texas
Learn from your mistake and don't trust anyone to do work without reviewing it first. You have already been through the disciplinary process and you were found guilty of the offense. Yes, you can appeal, but like you pointed out, your punishment could be far worse should your appeal not go well. I would let it go...

And I can understand the way the school views your argument. Four of you were responsible for a project. Three of you did research; one of you did the writing. But, all four of you have equal responsibility for the project. All four of you should have reviewed each other's work for any possible issues. Put yourself in the judge's shoes. All they see is four students who did not follow the honor code. I don't think that they can separate your work from anyone else's work since all of you had a hand in the project.
 

HauteMama

.
O.G.
Sep 22, 2006
11,564
868
^ I have to agree with natalie78. If your name was on the project, how can any of the judges know what parts you participated in and which you did not? You put your name of the total of what was being handed in, which means you trusted that the project was acceptable for you to be graded on. This is a costly lesson to learn, but never should you allow your name to be on something that you don't know for certain was trustworthy. As in almost any other aspect of life, ignorance is not an acceptable defense. I am sorry this happened, but I wouldn't appeal, either. The punishment could be far, far worse.
 

Echoes

O.G.
Aug 8, 2008
10,402
9
Guilty until proven otherwise.

It's nearly impossible to prove you didn't do something especially when you let someone else handle the details.
 
Aug 29, 2008
4,639
4
Yes, OP made a mistake not looking at the work before it was turned in.

However, the fact is she did not plagiarize and shouldn't be blamed for it. And really, if she had looked at the paper, is there any clear way she would know it was plagiarized? Unless you were writing an entire paper yourself, would you know for sure nothing was plagiarized unless it came from your textbook or Harry Potter?

OP, appeal the decision. Explain the situation again. Apologize for not thoroughly reviewing your own project, but also point out that a group project always necessitates some trust.

Organize everything you have on the project. Bring a hard copy of your portion of the work so the professors can see it contains no plagiarism, and bring a soft copy of all your files which show the dates they were created and last modified. Bring copies of all the communication you have within your group, all the emails about who was responsible for what, and when you sent in your portion with what files attached.

I have a hard time imagining you would be on the hook for something you didn't do at any respectable university.

If you continue to have problems, change schools.
 

Charles

Sucks at budgeting
O.G.
Jan 5, 2007
15,475
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Jacksonville, Fl
Yeah, even if she reviewed it, it's not like she'd know if the other girls stole their work.

I'd find all of YOUR research and all of your references and make sure your case is clear cut when you get in front of the board. I really don't see how they could fault you if you have proof you turned in cited work.
 

merika

Wol
O.G.
Nov 1, 2006
10,409
105
Okay, I am a senior in college, and will be graduating in May. For one of my major classes, we had to do a group project. There were 4 people in this group, and so we divided up the work equally. For this project, I did research on our subject matter, and did the powerpoint. 2 of the other girls did research as well, and then we sent all of our research to one girl to put into paper form. I didn't see the paper before it was handed in, as I've been in groups with this girl before, and thought that she would do a good job. A few weeks later, we all get letters from our teacher saying our paper was plagerized! I was shocked. I know that in college, plagerism is taken very seriously, and I was afraid I was going to be kicked out of college. The consequences that we have now is that I am getting a 0 on the paper, have to go to an honor code seminar, and will be put on probation with the school until I graduate. We also have to meet with the dean of our college, and it's really embarassing for me to sit in there with her, when I feel as if I'm not guilty of this charge. The 0 on the project is going to bring my grade down a letter grade, and this will be going on my background report, so it could possibly hurt me in getting a job. The thing that I find unfair is that I personally didn't plagerise. It was only one girl from our group, and the whole group is getting blamed for this. I've told my teacher that I didn't write the paper or have anything to do with it. I really don't know what to do about this situation, or how to make it better, and am having a hard time just accepting this since I personally didn't do it. I realize now I should have looked over the paper before it was turned it, but like I said I've done multiple projects with this girl, and it has always been fine. We have the option of appealing this decision, but that goes to a hearing, with a different panel of 'judges.' These judges could find that the consequences our teacher gave us were too light, and give us a 0 in the entire course. I'm so afraid of that happeneding as it will prevent me from graduating in May, and I will have to come back next fall for this one course. Does anyone have any suggestions??
Yes, you are ultimately responsible as it is your name on the paper and any charges of plagiarism fall on you as well as the other people.

Do you have any proof of emails where you told her to write the paper, emails describing how the work was divided between you, any written documentation where you said you were too busy to read it before she turned it in, things like that? If so, going in front of the panel of judges might be an option.
 

chicagogrl

Member
May 1, 2010
34
0
Chicago
Yes, OP made a mistake not looking at the work before it was turned in.

However, the fact is she did not plagiarize and shouldn't be blamed for it. And really, if she had looked at the paper, is there any clear way she would know it was plagiarized? Unless you were writing an entire paper yourself, would you know for sure nothing was plagiarized unless it came from your textbook or Harry Potter?

OP, appeal the decision. Explain the situation again. Apologize for not thoroughly reviewing your own project, but also point out that a group project always necessitates some trust.

Organize everything you have on the project. Bring a hard copy of your portion of the work so the professors can see it contains no plagiarism, and bring a soft copy of all your files which show the dates they were created and last modified. Bring copies of all the communication you have within your group, all the emails about who was responsible for what, and when you sent in your portion with what files attached.

I have a hard time imagining you would be on the hook for something you didn't do at any respectable university.

If you continue to have problems, change schools.
^This.

Like others have said, it's not like you (or the girl who was organizing the paper) would have been able to tell if something was copied or not.

Can you ask the girl who was organizing the paper to gather all the emails that were exchanged between the culprit and her? That way you guys can all prove who is at fault here. I suppose when you appeal, you can certainly make the point that you've all learned a valuable lesson in checking everything before you put your name/hand it in. Good luck!
 

GhstDreamer

Lady Philosophy
Authenticator
O.G.
May 13, 2008
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It was a group project and you and the rest of the group members should've reviewed and edited prior to submission. Was it always been fine or was it just because this girl was never caught plagiarizing until now? Claiming ignorance doesn't always work especially in front of a panel of academics. However, you do have a chance on appealing it, so you might want to work with the other group members and come up with a consensus on how to approach the issue since it was only one member who did the plagiarizing. I remember when I was doing international business, we were working in pairs and this one guy's partner plagiarized his part during the presentation (the guy didn't know his partner plagiarized his part). Our prof caught it and expelled both of them out of the course.

I was caught plagiarizing in a business research course and unfortunately it was true, I did plagiarized - I just didn't realized I could plagiarized my own prior research. I figured I can't steal my own work but who knew you could, if you fail to document it. My plagiarized work was submitted to a tenure professor who I was a research assistant for! I was chewed out for plagiarizing but since I was selected by that prof to be his R.A. to begin with, they let me go with nothing on my record. So there are times, claiming ignorance could actually work.

I'd appeal but you need to be prepared if the judges don't rule in your favour.
 

No Cute

cupcake butt
Aug 17, 2008
19,539
7
I would consider the appeals process. That being said, you did not take full responsibility for the project (aka, seeing the final product), and there is responsibility for the plagiarism. It is unintentional plagiarism but still plagiarism. I would appeal, directly admit not taking full responsibility for the final product, produce evidence of roles in the project, see if mercy is issued, and accept whatever is done with grace. Not easy. But the honorable path, imo.
 

Echoes

O.G.
Aug 8, 2008
10,402
9
Do you have any proof of emails where you told her to write the paper, emails describing how the work was divided between you, any written documentation where you said you were too busy to read it before she turned it in, things like that? If so, going in front of the panel of judges might be an option.
I'd be concerned about that too. Were you supposed to work on the project equally as a group? Or was delegation allowed? If you're all being held equally accountable, it sounds as if you were expected to be equally involved in all stages. Doing so may have prevented this problem.
 

onegirlcreative

Daddy's Little Girl
Feb 11, 2008
8,391
3
Dovunque voglia andare
what i find disturbing throughout all of this is that girl hasn't come forward to do the right thing and tell your professors that it was her, and only her, who plagiarized. i'm curious to know what she is saying to all of you during all of this? is she admitting fault or basically shrugging her shoulders as if to claim innocence?

either way, i think it's sad that due to this lazy girl's actions, all four of you are being blamed for it.

this is what i always hated about group projects in college. you never know what the other is actually contributing. inevitably, there is always someone who doesn't do as much work as someone else and it always ends up becoming problematic.

i hope you get this resolved, OP, and in the end, it doesn't tarnish your academic record and you're able to continue with your education.

and of course, lesson learned to NEVER be in this girl's group again (if you have anything to say about it). not sure if you're friends with this girl outside of this group/class, but after this, i wouldn't want anything to do with her.
 

creighbaby

O.G.
Jun 4, 2006
3,239
159
what i find disturbing throughout all of this is that girl hasn't come forward to do the right thing and tell your professors that it was her, and only her, who plagiarized. i'm curious to know what she is saying to all of you during all of this? is she admitting fault or basically shrugging her shoulders as if to claim innocence?
I agree with OGC. Can you all get the plagarist to admit what she did?

I would appeal, but the sadly, the ultimate responsible rests on all your shoulders to ensure that something with your names on it is something that you stand by before it gets turned in.
 

kendal

Member
Apr 8, 2008
668
0
what i find disturbing throughout all of this is that girl hasn't come forward to do the right thing and tell your professors that it was her, and only her, who plagiarized. i'm curious to know what she is saying to all of you during all of this? is she admitting fault or basically shrugging her shoulders as if to claim innocence?
Your best option is to convince the actual plagiarizer to take the responsibility. Maybe you could band with the other 3 and let her know that if she doesn't come forward voluntarily that you are all going to out her during the meeting with the dean. That might motivate her?

I feel for you. I'm currently in a group project from hell so after reading this I am going to be extra vigilant. In a previous group I noticed that one group member copied part of his section from wikipedia. I was glad I caught it, but it was obvious, and I've always feared what would have happened to me if I didn't notice it.

Whatever you do, don't appeal. It's not worth compromising your graduation date.
 

frenchtoast

Member
Jul 5, 2009
659
0
Roanoke, VA
what i find disturbing throughout all of this is that girl hasn't come forward to do the right thing and tell your professors that it was her, and only her, who plagiarized. i'm curious to know what she is saying to all of you during all of this? is she admitting fault or basically shrugging her shoulders as if to claim innocence?

either way, i think it's sad that due to this lazy girl's actions, all four of you are being blamed for it.

this is what i always hated about group projects in college. you never know what the other is actually contributing. inevitably, there is always someone who doesn't do as much work as someone else and it always ends up becoming problematic.

i hope you get this resolved, OP, and in the end, it doesn't tarnish your academic record and you're able to continue with your education.

and of course, lesson learned to NEVER be in this girl's group again (if you have anything to say about it). not sure if you're friends with this girl outside of this group/class, but after this, i wouldn't want anything to do with her.
That's what's really getting me about the situation! One girl out of four, and she hasn't came forward yet. One of the girls in my group is the vice president of SGA on campus, and also lives with the girl that plagerised. The girl in SGA is going to be kicked out over this, and she didn't do it either. We have discussed what would happen with my professor if the guilty party did come forward, and she wasn't sure if that would even get us others off the hook. I will take the 0 on the project, but really don't want this on my record. The guitly party has yet to apologize to anyone, and really in class she was acting mad, like it was other people's faults. She stormed out at the end of class, wouldn't look at me, and deleted me from her facebook friends. I unfortuantly during Thanksgiving break went on an inbox/outbox deleting spree, so I have nothing to back up my case, just my word (and the other non-guilty girls). This happened on Monday, right after break was over, if I could have just kept those e-mails a little longer...:sad: I also feel like even if I had looked over the paper before it was turned it, I still wouldn't have known that it was plagerised.