Cloudy citation system hurting students

By Jana Fagotti
February 27, 2003

Angelina Wagner

“Once upon a time, a student is given the following question as an integration activity: Do you agree or disagree with the use of stem cells. Support your opinion.”

(Devenny, Sandra. Health & the Human Body. T/R, FH 358.)

An error has occurred in the Cabrini disciplinary system. Students are being accused of plagiarism without even consciously doing so.

Over 25 percent of Sandra Devenny’s biology class has received zeros and academic citations for dishonesty after students improperly cited sources on a recent integration activity sheet. Most students did not even know that the sources were improperly cited until the papers were handed back on Thursday, Feb. 13.

The catch, there is no campus wide standard for citing sources. Therefore correctly cited sources in English may be considered plagiarism in Biology.

Devenny explained to the class that she saw the trend in improper citations and believes that the class honestly did not realize they had plagiarized by citing their sources incorrectly. However, college policy states that, since she had a “Citing References for Biology” section in her syllabus, the students were guilty of academic dishonesty.

Most students were enraged over the incident and questioned Devenny saying, “I can show you papers in high school where I cited the exact same way and got an ‘A’.” This is where the problem lies. Students who enter Cabrini are not given the opportunity to learn a standard format so they use the methods of citing that they know from high school. The professors at Cabrini teach their classes their own methods of citing and when a student reviews a certain method, it becomes the only method they know. This causes conflict with the proper way to cite.

Many of the students in Devenny’s class have opted to appeal their accusations of cheating. But the campus continues to walk on a thin sheet of ice wondering when they are going to unknowingly plunge into the waters of plagiarism when they only made an honest mistake.

I feel that the academic honesty policy should apply to direct cheating only. I am baffled at the idea of students getting penalized for misquoting in the only way that he or she knows how, as opposed to not quoting at all.

After this incident took place in my class I began speaking to some of the students who were cited. One person pointed out their supposed plagiarism to an English professor who said that the source was cited properly. This is a problem. The conflicting opinions of professors on correctly and incorrectly cited sources, is currently resulting in the oblivious students’ reprehension.

A standard method should be taught to students in the required College Success Seminar which all incoming students are required to take. Until that point, the students are left to fight their own battles creating a war of integrity. “I don’t want this to be in my file,” commented one of the students in Devenney’s class.

I have heard talk about a proposed method to ensure a standard citing procedure campus wide. However, the professors will be allowed to alter this method in his or her class.

So, how is this helping us? It’s not. Leaving two choices: check with your professor on citing sources “their” way beforehand. or open up the old Bedford, if you were fortunate enough to have to purchase one, and if you’re wrongly accused of academic honesty, blame your source. Maybe Bedford can battle it out with Academic Affairs. Right now, it’s left up to us.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Jana Fagotti

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Special Project

Title IX Redefined Website

Produced by Cabrini Communication
Class of 2024

Listen Up

Season 2, Episode 3: Celebrating Cabrini and Digging into its Past


Scroll to Top
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap