Carnegie Mellon University
Academic Honesty

Academic Honesty

Either the professor or the TA should make clear to the students what the expected method is for citing sources in any type of assignment. In addition, students (especially first-years) may need assistance deciding where citations are appropriate or necessary. Often, cases that seem like plagiarism turn out to be the result of confusion.

However, a TA or grader who suspects deliberate cheating or plagiarism by students should discuss it with the faculty member in charge of the course. Since the faculty member is ultimately responsible for student grades, he or she is also responsible for initiating action concerning violations of standards of academic honesty.

The following is a departmental statement on plagiarism that should be made available to every student.

The straightforward disclosure of the sources used in completing course work is essential to the integrity of the educational process. In that way one acknowledges the ideas of others and helps to highlight what is distinctive of one’s own contribution to a topic. It also enables instructors to be more effective teachers by providing an accurate sense of the student’s grasp of course material.

Students are expected to use proper methods for citing sources; such methods can be found in style guides like the Chicago Manual of Style, or the most recent MLA Handbook. In general, an acceptable method of citation provides enough information to allow a reader to track down the original sources. You should consult your professor, if you have any questions about which method to use, or which kinds of collaboration or assistance to disclose.

Failure to acknowledge the ideas of others is a serious violation of intellectual integrity and community standards. It is the individual student’s responsibility to be aware of university policies on academic integrity, including the policies on cheating and plagiarism. This is available online and in the section on “University Policies” in the most recent edition of The Word: Undergraduate Student Handbook.

Students who cheat or plagiarize face serious sanctions at both the course level, and the university level. At the course level, faculty at Carnegie Mellon University have significant discretion to determine the sanctions that are appropriate to individual cases of cheating and plagiarism. Within the Philosophy Department, it is customary to give plagiarized assignments a failing grade and, where appropriate, to fail students for the course. Additionally, a letter is sent to the Dean of Students indicating that the student in question has submitted plagiarized material and received a course-level sanction. Plagiarism is also a violation of the community standards of Carnegie Mellon University. As such, allegations of plagiarism may be brought before a University Academic Review Board which will determine whether a violation of community standards has taken place and level additional sanctions if appropriate. Although this body also has signifcant discretion over the sanctions that it levels, plagiarism can result in academic probation, suspension, and even expulsion.