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What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is the unacknowledged use of another person’s words or ideas. The most blatant forms of plagiarism involve large-scale copying, or cutting and pasting, from books or articles written by others. Most students who do this know that they are being dishonest.

But some plagiarism results from carelessness. When you copy words, phrases, or ideas from other texts and integrate them with your own words, you must carefully distinguish between your own words and those of the other texts (your “sources”). When you fail to do this, you are probably plagiarizing.

For a more detailed definition of plagiarism, see the “Extended definition” on the Calvin College English Department website.

How is plagiarism punished at Calvin?

Calvin College takes plagiarism very seriously. Faculty members must report all cases of academic dishonesty, including plagiarism, to the Dean of Students for Judicial Affairs. Students caught plagiarizing face serious consequences, which can include:

  • a failing grade on the assignment;
  • a failing grade in the course;
  • suspension/expulsion from the college.

See the Student Code of Conduct (Section VI) for more information about Calvin's policy on academic dishonesty and the judicial procedure.

If you observe the fundamental rules for acknowledging (or “citing”) your sources, you will avoid commiting plagiarism.