As you begin your College career—attending classes, participating in extracurricular activities, performing community service, and thinking about where your academic and career interests lie—it is important to reflect on your role and responsibilities within an academic community.
The College is a "community of the mind." Its students, faculty, and staff all share the goal of pursuing truth through free and open inquiry, and we support one another's endeavors in this regard. As in any community, membership comes with certain rights and responsibilities. Foremost among these is academic integrity. Cheating on an exam, falsifying data, or having someone else write a paper undermines others who are "doing it on their own"; it makes it difficult or impossible to assess fairly a student's interest, aptitude, and achievement; and it diminishes the cheater, depriving him/her of an education. Most importantly, academic dishonesty is a violation of the very principles upon which the academy is founded. Thus, when students enter the College, one of the first things that they are asked to do is to sign a community compact, recognizing these principles of academic integrity. For this reason also, violations of these principles are treated with the utmost seriousness.
"Nothing is more basic to living and working together than trust. Without it, as Thomas Hobbes warned, humanity is reduced to a ‘war of all against all.' Trust is the condition of cooperation and of social relationships themselves. We learn as children not to be naively trusting, but instead to watch to see which people and which organizations deserve to be trusted. We are disappointed all too often. Law courts and religions try to make people more trustworthy. But being the sort of person who can be trusted is still a personal achievement. Trust does not depend on people putting aside their personal benefits, but on people pursuing them in ways that make them dependable partners to others. Thus lovers try to be faithful and friends loyal. Even in competition, trustworthiness is important. Not only are there punishments for those who cheat, but today's competitor may readily become tomorrow's colleague. An institution like a college depends enormously on trust. Students rightly expect professors to teach honestly and not deceive them. Society trusts scientists not to lie about the results of their research. Neither the pursuit of new knowledge nor the effort to preserve and pass on old wisdom can flourish unless we can trust each other to be intellectually honest." —Craig Calhoun, University Professor of the Social Sciences
Academic honesty means that the work you submit - in whatever form - is original. Students are expected - often required - to build their work on that of other people, just as professional researchers and writers do. Giving credit to someone whose work has helped you is expected; in fact, not to give such credit is a crime. Plagiarism is the severest form of academic fraud. Plagiarism is theft. Obviously, bringing answers into an examination or copying all or part of a paper straight from a book, the Internet, or a fellow student is a violation of this principle. But there are other forms of cheating or plagiarizing which are just as serious, for example:
Term paper mills (web sites and businesses set up to sell papers to students) often claim they are merely offering "information" or "research" to students and that this service is acceptable and allowed throughout the university. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY UNTRUE. If you buy and submit "research," drafts, summaries, abstracts, or final versions of a paper, you are committing plagiarism and are subject to stringent disciplinary action. Since plagiarism is a matter of fact and not intention, it is crucial that you acknowledge every source accurately and completely. If you quote anything from a source, use quotation marks and take down the page number of the quotation to use in your footnote.
When in doubt about whether your acknowledgment is proper and adequate, consult your instructor. Show the instructor your sources and a draft of the paper in which you are using them. The obligation to demonstrate that work is your own rests with you, the student. You are responsible for providing sources, copies of your work, or verification of the date work was completed. While all this looks like a lot to remember, all you need to do is to give credit where it is due, take credit only for your original ideas, and ask your instructor or adviser when in doubt.
Consult the APA, MLA, or Chicago style guides for accepted forms of documentation. You can access these resources, as well as additional information on proper citations on the NYU Libraries Citation Style Guide.
The penalty for academic dishonesty is severe. The following are the procedures as approved by the Faculty of Arts and Science. See also the College Bulletin.