Dishonesty Policy: Turning In Your Teacher’s Paper

While teaching at the University of Southern Mississippi in 2000, Jeff Gentry, who now teaches at Everett Community College, had his students write about third party candidates who ran for the presidency. He wrote his own master’s thesis (“Joseph Smith: Prophet and Secular Politician”) on Smith’s bid for the presidency in 1844.

Gentry had a student who commuted from Clinton, Mississippi, to Hattiesburg, Mississippi for school. She told Gentry she didn’t have time to do research at the main campus of the university, so he told her to check at the library at Mississippi College, in Clinton.

According to Gentry, her paper was fine until the ending of it.

“She totally lifted the last paragraph from my Master’s Thesis.” he said.

When confronted with this, she denied having plagiarized it until he quoted it verbatim, from memory. The student then changed her mind.

Her punishment for this was failure of the assignment–not the class. He did, however, fill out a BIT Report, which makes a copy of her paper to keep on file as a record of plagiarism, in case the student is a chronic offender.

They say cheaters never win, but they especially don’t win when they steal the ideas from the teachers that are grading them.

-Nellie Ferguson