Although it is possible that the University would benefit from subscribing to a plagiarism checking service, the Student Council feels that it would be unfair to solicit students for this service. Ultimately, the student’s feel that giving their word that they are not plagiarizing should be sufficient proof that they are not and plagiarism can be detected in other ways that would not cost a subscription fee. If the University believes that such a plagiarism check program is necessary, than this should be taken from funds designed for another function rather than from the student’s themselves.
The University charges students for many additional services, a majority of which we agree are necessary. It is helpful for us to pay additional funds to use the fitness center and to print documents at the printing center, because this is helping us to save money that we would otherwise be spending elsewhere. However, plagiarism has existed and been detected throughout academic history, which technological detection sites such as TurnItIn.com are fairly recent. Therefore, if it is imperative to implement a plagiarism detection program, it would be simple to do so by requiring professors to examine documents as they are turned in or to perform a quick internet search to ensure that their wording has not been taken directly from the internet.
If the University feels that it must implement a third-party plagiarism checking services, we implore the Provost office to explore other options. Although TurnItIn.com has a good reputation that is associated with for-profit websites, there are many free plagiarism check alternatives. A simple Google search of “plagiarism checker” will return many sites that professors across campus can use for this purpose.
Furthermore, it is essential to recognize the financial damage that a 2 or 3 dollar increase can cause for students with already low incomes who are required to pay for tuition. In many cases, students living on campus do not have jobs or are able to work very few hours in the jobs that they do have because academia is a fulltime commitment. Therefore, a 2 to 3 dollar increase in tuition is equivalent to the cost of one or two meals and it is more important that the student be able to reserve the money for this purpose.
The Student Counsel understands that it is important to educate students on the norms of academic conduct, but this practice is repeated at the beginning of the semester in each course when the professors hand the course syllabus to students. Every copy of every syllabus in every course lists the college’s academic integrity policy, and a majority of professors highlight the point that they will not tolerate plagiarism in their courses, which is then discussed at length. At the college and University level, all students are aware of what plagiarism is and how to avoid it and are constantly reminded of this throughout their attendance. Therefore, using TurnItIn.com as a way to reinforce these principles are redundant are unlikely to reduce plagiarism past the point that it has already been reduced to as a consequence of the already existing plagiarism policy. There will continue to be students who wish to take their chances and plagiarize work whether or not TurnItIn.com is being implemented University wide. Ultimately, the Student Counsel believes that requiring an additional fee from students to implement the plagiarism check is a waste of time and resources and that student money could potentially be better spent in other endeavors that will help increase the value of their education.
Markel M. (2012). Technical Communication, 10th Edition. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s.