Plagiarism refers to the act of copying or trying to copy someone else’s work without citing your references or giving proper credit to the author. In most cases, students who do this are trying to pass it off as their own work. In many colleges and universities, even the first offense of plagiarism can mean harsh punishments for the student because many colleges and universities have a zero tolerance policy on plagiarism, which can lead to expulsion of the student. It is a serious problem, and it’s a very unfortunate situation to find yourself in, but it is much worse if you are being wrongly accused of plagiarism, when in fact, you really have not done anything wrong. According to an article posted in Merlin Helps Students, plagiarism is not an uncommon act in colleges and universities. However, if you have been wrongly accused, here are some of things that you can do to right the wrong.
First, you will need to gather all the evidence you can to prove your innocence. Locate and gather all resources used, including books and websites, to prove that your work is your own and that the information you gathered from your resources was put into your own words. If you have drafts of your work, those would be useful as well, as it shows that you read and edited your work. In addition, while it is likely that you have a lot at risk when you are facing accusations of plagiarism, it is important to remain calm. Approach your professor in a calm and respectable manner to discuss the issue with them privately. Yelling, screaming, or cursing will not get you anywhere and likely means you will not be given a chance to explain yourself.
If a professor, or anyone else for that matter, is accusing you of plagiarism, they better have proof you did something wrong. Ask him or her to show you where they think you plagiarized and do your best to clear it up that way. You should also ask what it is about your paper or project that gave him or her the impression that you plagiarized someone else’s work. If you have already talked to your professor, and the problem has not been solved, take your defense to a person that is higher than your professor, such as a department chair or dean, who may have the grounds to settle the matter. Be sure to explain your situation while remaining calm, and to bring all your resources, drafts, and notes, to show that the work you created came from other resources you have, and were not copied word for word. If that doesn’t work and you are facing expulsion, it may be best to hire an attorney.
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