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Harbert Writing Center

UM Plagiarism Policy


What Every College Student Should Know

You may be confused about the definition of plagiarism and about when you might be committing it. This document with define plagiarism and alert you to its seriousness.

Definition of Plagiarism:

Briefly, there are 5 ways in which you can commit plagiarism:

  • using the exact words of another person’s work/writing without acknowledgment of your source through the use of quotation marks and correct citation/documentation;
  • rephrasing a passage by another writer without giving proper credit;
  • using someone else’s facts or ideas without acknowledgement;
  • using a piece of writing for one course that was already used in a previous course (or in courses in which you are simultaneously enrolled) without express permission from both instructors to do so; and presenting fabricated or falsified citations or materials.

Consequences of Plagiarism:

At the very least, a plagiarized assignment will receive no credit, i.e., a “zero,” and an Academic Dishonesty Incident Form concerning the incident will be kept on file in the Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs. A plagiarist is also subject to failure in the course and/or an appearance before the Justice Council.

The plagiarism of ideas and wording is an offense not only in the academic world, but also in the working world. It is a violation of copyright and of the trust necessary between colleagues and coworkers. Careers have been destroyed and reputations ruined when persons have been found guilty of plagiarism.

Helpful Resources:

There are many resources available at the University of Montevallo to help you understand plagiarism. The Harbert Writing Center, the library, and the instructors in your courses are just a few of these resources. You may also consult the APA and MLA style helper links on this web page. It is your responsibility to ask questions and get assistance with the correct methods of citation and documentation of researched materials so that you will not be committing plagiarism. If you find good information for your topic, your instructor will be pleased that you have done so. All we ask is that you acknowledge that the information and/or words came from another source. Most thinking builds on previous thinking: this is one of the things we want you to learn as a student at the University of Montevallo.

Realize that most instructors can easily identify a plagiarized document. While plagiarizing might seem like the easy way to go at the time, you will face many consequences for it later on.

Adapted from a document prepared for the English Department of the University of Montevallo by Glenda Conway, Kristen Gilbert, Miles Taylor, Pennie Ticen, and Glenda Weathers, drawing on documents used at University of Alabama, University of Massachusetts, New York University, and State University of New York Stony Brook.