Oct 192010
 
Authors: Rachel Childs

A paper handed back with a zero makes anyone’s stomach sink –– especially when the reason for the poor grade is cheating.

Wednesday introduced the first ever CSU Academic Integrity Day, chock-full of presentations by teachers and administrators informing students of the repercussions of cheating and how to avoid a call to the conduct office because of plagiarism.

The Associated Students of CSU, Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services, CRSCS, and The Institute for Teaching and
Learning, TILT, sponsored the event on the second floor of the Lory Student Center and Rockwell Hall.

“A lot of plagiarism is accidental,” said Elaine Green, the event’s director and assistant director of Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services.

Academic Integrity Day was hosted in conjunction with national Character Counts Week, put on by the Joseph Institute and dedicated to instilling good moral values in students.

Craig Chesson, director of CRSCS, was pleased with the turnout and said the session before his was overflowing as well as in his noon session, titled “Academic Integrity for Graduate Students.”

“The stakes are high. The students are here for a degree and they don’t want to jeopardize it,” Chesson said.

Cheating is a global problem, Chesson said, but instances of cheating have not increased at CSU.

The university has twice been named by the John Templeton Foundation as a “Campus of Character,” according to a press release about Academic Integrity.

The event highlighted ways to properly cite sources across all academic disciplines including business, science and foreign languages. Unforeseen grey areas contribute to the majority of plagiarism due to different rules and regulations, Green said.

She added that many students who take classes with different methods of citation often incorrectly cite sources or paraphrase in ways that appear to be plagiarism.

“All those areas have very different expectations on how and when to cite,” Green said.

Something as harmless as a foreign language paper being edited by a native speaker can land students with a failing grade. Outside help is appropriate, but when the paper loses the original author’s voice, it’s cheating.

“They don’t really know what they’re doing is academic dishonesty,” said Maite Correa, an assistant professor of Spanish applied linguistics and presenter at the event.

Students are encouraged to be open with professors and to ask questions regarding what is considered cheating. Resources such as the Writing Center can also answer concerns about grey areas.

“In general it’s just kind of difficult when you’re doing research and writing papers,” said sophomore psychology major Jessica Wiest. “I’m just super careful about citations.”

Crime Beat Reporter Rachel Childs can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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