Plagiarism: A Reputation Wrecker


“There is much difference between imitating a man and counterfeiting him.”

-Benjamin Franklin

One of the fastest ways to ruin a good reputation is with a plagiarism scandal. This is true in the classroom, but it’s also the case in the workplace, as we’ve learned from Rand Paul’s unfortunate situation.

Senator Rand Paul recently found himself at the center of a plagiarism scandal when he plagiarized sections of someone else’s writing for his own op-ed in the Washington Times. As a consequence, he will no longer be writing his op-ed column. Regardless of whether his plagiarism was intentionally dishonest or just an accidental lack of crediting his sources, there is no doubt that his honesty has been brought into question and his reputation has suffered.

Honesty is a valuable part of a person’s reputation. An instance of plagiarism can ruin a person’s reputation quickly. We all know plagiarism is not acceptable in the classroom. Students can fail the assignment, fail the class, or sometimes get expelled from school. Plagiarism is something the administration takes note of and can affect a student’s reputation with instructors and with the school. For instance, if you take an online class, the instructor will use special software to check for plagiarism. Furthermore, when a student plagiarizes, he or she misses all the learning opportunities that the instructor has designed in the project.

The good news is that LibraryConnect (the Online Library) has a lot of great resources for online students to learn about plagiarism and how to avoid it! There’s a flow chart, which will guide you through citing sources. You can watch a video about the ways in which APA citation and plagiarism are related or even play a game where you defeat goblins by learning about plagiarism. LibraryConnect also has an APA style paper template you can download to get you started on the right foot. It’s a lot easier to use the tools that the library provides than risk plagiarizing.

As you’re working on papers and projects for school and work, remember what Geoff Nunberg says in his Fresh Air story about Rand Paul, “cut and paste, you’ll be disgraced.”

A guest blog post written by: Elaine Settergren- Online Librarian