Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Help Me Howard: Plagiarism
When you were in high school copying off someone's paper could get you an F. When you get to college, its not just called cheating its called plagiarism, and it can be a crime. Lets bring in Help me Howard with Patrick Fraser
WSVN -- If you want to go to college, you need two things money and brains. Typhani and Kim had the IQ part down.
Typhani Mattis: "I majored in statistics."
Kimberly Carney:"And I majored in health education and behavior, and I had a minor in business."
Both have graduated, but are now applying to grad schools, and to get in many require what's called a personal statement.
Typhani Mattis: "The personal statements basically describe like, your reason for attending graduate school. Why you want to go to graduate school."
To turn in the best essay many applicants hire a service to spruce up their paper, Typhani did.
Typhani Mattis: "Basically, guide me in the right directions as far as any grammatical errors, any revisions that can better market myself to the university."
Typhani was satisfied with the Broward Company, paid them $325 and then referred Kimberly to them.
Typhani Mattis: "I was livid."
Livid after she got back her essay and started reading it to Typhani. Then saw some changes the company had made.
Kimberly Carney: "And she said, 'Oh my god, this is the same thing that was put in mine and its my original work."
The paragraphs in green were written by Typhani for her essay, and the company put them into Kimberly's paper.
Typhani Mattis: "Is an acclaimed university that will help me challenge me to."
Kim and Typhani are bright and what they were seeing was clear..
Kimberly Carney: "This is plagiarism and you are giving both of us plagiarized work"
The same words in both papers infuriated them the effects could devastate them.
Kimberly Carney: "And in the academic world this is a huge, a huge problem and it can damage both our education. We might not get accepted into a university for this."
Typhani told the woman she wanted her money back. Kimberly told her she would not pay for the paper, but is plagiarism a crime? Lets turn to the guy no-one ever bothered to copy from in school, Howard.
Howard Finkelstein: "Plagiarism will get a student kicked out of class or school, but the student is not committing a crime. However, a company or a person commits a crime if they sell a student a term paper or thesis that they use to pass a test or acquire a degree. In the girls case, this was an application to get into school so legally its not plagiarism under Florida law."
When I spoke to the company owner, she told me that Kimberly misunderstood the process. That she did not get a final paper, that her company copied and pasted examples of what a personal statement should be like. They don't write them it was up to Kimbery to finalize the paper. She said, she was not going to chase Kimberly for the $250, and she added this has bothered her that she has a stellar reputation and has never had one complaint.
She know has two complaints and as Kimberly and Typhani further their education, they have learned another valuable lesson.
Typhani Mattis: "I just want everyone to know first of all, don't rely on anybody else to help you with your work. Just be your biggest critic."
Patrick Fraser: "And one more legal question, what would happen if you used a paper that had been plagiarized and because of that couldn't get into a school. You could sue the company for damaging or even destroying your career like Kim and Typhani said. Don't take chances and write your own papers."
Papered with problems you'd like to dismiss? Copy our number down. Its not cheating cause we will help you make the grade.
CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:
EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org (Please include your contact phone number when emailing)
REPORTER: Patrick Fraser at email@example.com