Ethics and Plagiarism

June 13th, 2007 in Ethics and Legal Issues by April Michelle Davis 1

As seen in the debacles of people like Stephen Glass and James Frey, plagiarism is not seen as a big deal among many writers. In the same way, students are violating ethics via plagiarism. Though it is unknown whether plagiarism is now more prevalent than before or whether more of the students are now being caught, the fact that plagiarism is occurring so often should be alarming to everyone’s parents, as well as writers, publishers, and readers.

In 2006, Ohio University officials discovered that plagiarism had been occurring in the mechanical engineering department for more than 20 years. The investigating committee notified 37 engineering graduates that they must either give up their master’s degrees, rewrite their theses, or challenge the accusations in hearings. Apparently, this was a widespread problem, as it led to the department chair’s resignation.

What has led so many people to believe that plagiarism is okay and that ethics don’t matter?