Volume 95, Issue 54

Tuesday, January 9, 2002
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Councillor seeks to impeach Baxter

Former Miami Vice star gives Ivey cash?

Cheating plagues universities

To smoke or not to smoke - the saga continues

Queen's seeks deregulation; students hold their breath

News Briefs

Just in case you missed it...

Pestering politicians

Cheating plagues universities

By Jessica Leeder
Gazette Staff

Reports that 47 Simon Fraser University students have allegedly plagiarized an assignment are only the latest cases of an age-old scholastic offense that is more common than most assume.

Jonathan Silveria, external relations officer of the SFU Students' Union, confirmed 47 SFU economics and business majors are being investigated for cheating.

Walter Zimmerman, online services librarian at The DB Weldon Library said that technology and the Internet has made it far too easy for students to cheat on assignments.

Last year, 120 University of Alberta students were penalized for scholastic offences such as cheating or plagiarizing, despite the fact the university has an anti-cheating education program in place.

Approximately 150 students at the University of Toronto are currently under investigation for scholastic offenses Last year, the University of British Columbia reported 50 separate offenses and McGill caught 58 students.

Western vice-provost and registrar Roma Harris said statistics on scholastic offenses are not tallied at Western. However, each faculty is responsible for keeping track of academic offenses in their respective departments, she added.

There were approximately 10 cases of plagiarism presented last semester to the dean's office in the faculty of social science at Western according to Brian Timney, associate dean of social science.

"The typical cases involve one person and at most, a group of two or three people working together," Timney said, noting the SFU case is larger than any he has ever personally encountered.

According to Zimmerman, Western's decision to purchase a membership to Turnitin.com – an electronic "critical mass" of essays that will help professors catch cheaters – was influenced by the mounting problem.

"What is the value of a degree if there is no integrity behind it?" said Zimmerman. "The university must make an attempt to see that there is integrity."

Silveria said he has been informed that each case of plagiarism at SFU is going to be dealt with separately and an investigation into the matter is ongoing.

"If students are concerned that due process was not followed, they can go to the ombuds office or we do offer free legal advice," he said.

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