© Damen, 2002

Plagiarism. I'm sure I need not remind you that plagiarism is not only an offense but a crime. It's defined as "knowingly representing the words or ideas of another as one's own in any academic exercise or activity." Thus, if any idea you put forward in your paper is not your own—let's say, three or more words in succession—instead, you've derived them from somewhere else, you must cite that source.

Plagiarism includes either the restatement or the wholesale copying of another's words or ideas which you then hand in as if you had created them. This means "borrowing" from other students' papers, or from any of the materials I present to you in class (including texts) or from material you've found in print or on the Web. Nor does ignorance of these laws constitute a valid excuse for plagiarizing.

All in all, your paper should represent your own thoughts phrased in your own words. Otherwise, it is unacceptable for credit. Bear in mind that at this university plagiarism may result in:

(a) a reprimand; (b) a grade adjustment; (c) being placed on warning or probation; (d) suspension from the University; or (e) expulsion from the University.

The point is, make your work your own! If not, be assured that I will prosecute any misrepresentations to the fullest.

NOTE: It is permissible—in fact, advisable!—to seek help from the Writing Center in the English Department (in the basement of the Ray B. West Building). In general, any good advice you encounter there and include in your papers is fine, as long as the words and thoughts you compose are fundamentally your own.

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