The world of academic misconduct

Do you ever wonder what happens to those students who get caught cheating or plagiarizing in their essays?

Didn’t think so. It doesn’t really cross our mind because in most cases we’re used to the high school protocol – they work with the teacher and move on from the issue. In most cases its almost as though university students believe that the same consequences apply in university, but they are soon shocked to find that its not quite the case. That’s where Adam Goodman comes into the picture.

Goodman is a criminal lawyer based in the greater Toronto area. He doesn’t deal with just academic dishonesty, but a wide range of criminal law cases.

“This isn’t the key part of my practice, it comes during the exam period. Around April-May I was getting tons of calls but then it’ll taper off for a bit.” Goodman said.

Cheating/academic dishonesty in university varies from students leaving notes in bathrooms then asking to leave the class so they can go check it, to cheat sheets in their pants. Though that’s not necessarily the only way, there are also the things we don’t quite consider to be seen as ‘plagiarism’. Several students sell and purchase essays and tests, along with faking doctor’s notes, which all lead to serious precautions. Professors aren’t necessarily the ones in charge of dealing with the cases , and this is where the school gets involved and things escalate.

Most students don’t know about help like Adam, mostly because they can’t afford it. In regards to Laurier Brantford, we have the Student Rights Advisory Committee, which helps students with tenant issues but also academic appeals.

“Losing marks on an exam or an essay would be one of the minor cases where the incident hasn’t happened before.” Goodman mentioned. Unfortunately, not all cases are as easygoing as losing a few marks on something. In some cases, it results in a 0 in the assignment/test or the course as a whole, and could also lead to suspensions.

Every school deals with these situations differently. Main factors that come into focus would be if the student had history of academic dishonesty.

There’s usually more sympathy for students who are in first year compared to students in fourth year. “There’s no sympathy for not knowing”.

“Citing was the issue, not plagiarizing or claiming the work, just not citing it properly. Citations are important, Turnitin is hard to dispute.” Goodman said.

Despite the several different ways of avoiding getting pulled into plagiarism, the main concern would be group projects.

“One thing you need to warn people about is group work. You’re responsible for the work submitted by your group. If one student plagiarized something you may end up having a problem with it as well.” Goodman said.

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