Punishment more than instant failure

Letter to Editor by Robert Grossman

A correction to your editorial on plagiarism: UK’s minimum penalty for plagiarism is a zero in the assignment, not an E in the course, if it is a first offense.

Faculty have discretion to impose the minimum penalty or a heavier one, depending on the circumstances of the offense. For a second offense, the minimum penalty is an E in the course. For a third offense, the minimum penalty is suspension.

A faculty member can even impose less than the minimum penalty of zero on the assignment, if, in his or her judgment, the offense is so minor that it does not warrant being reported as an academic offense.

For example, if a student cites 15 papers but mistakenly omits a sixteenth, the student has formally committed plagiarism, but the plagiarism was clearly unintentional, so it warrants reducing the student’s grade but not formally charging him or her with plagiarism.

Robert Grossman

chemistry professor