Many students surveyed believe that “recycling” their writing, as long as it is their original work, is simply an effective use of their time. They also tend to believe that plagiarism only stems from the failure to cite the words of other people.
While faculty may not hold definite opinions about self-plagiarism, they may feel that students who use portions of their previous works for current assignments are trying to deceive them in some manner. Most professors expect students to complete their full assignments from scratch without cutting corners by using excerpts that they have already written.
To make matters more confusing, many schools do not specifically address the issue of self-plagiarism. Instead, their codes of conduct only specifically ban plagiarism, which is largely defined as using other people’s creative works (including words) without attribution. However, universities usually accuse students of self-plagiarism under general plagiarism prohibitions.
Because opinions about self-plagiarism differ so significantly from students to professors—and college codes are often ambiguous or silent about the matter—many students who do not intend to cheat in any way end up facing academic misconduct charges.
Possible Penalties for Academic Misconduct
Colleges and universities take academic misconduct seriously. While each school has its own code and policies, the possible penalties often increase for multiple offenses. A first offense may mean a zero on the assignment or an F in the course. A second may mean academic probation, and a third may mean expulsion from the school. Some schools, however, will expel a student for even a first offense.
Too many students face disciplinary proceedings for something they never believed was wrong. Some students have even informed their professors about their intentions to use previous conclusions or sentences and heard no objections, only to later learn their schools are punishing them for plagiarism.
Contact Our Connecticut College Conduct Defense Lawyers to Discuss Your Situation
At Duffy Law, we understand the ambiguity of most self-plagiarism policies, and we have significant direct experience standing up for the rights of students whom schools wrongfully accuse of academic dishonesty. If you face any college code disciplinary issues, please call (203) 946-2000 or contact us online to speak with one of our skilled defense attorneys today.