Fraud, pure and simple

July 16, 2004

Mike Reddy seems confused about plagiarism ("Why I..." July 9).

Assessment and education may not mix well, but if we are obliged to mark work, we should be fair about it.

Fairness means recognising the difference between students who write like Simon Schama and those who steal from him. The issue is not how much or how little you cite, nor whether the odd sentence is lifted without attribution: it's about essays cobbled together from bleeding chunks of unreferenced text.

Students know the difference between work and fraud. As for it being a victimless crime, what does he suppose these people do after graduation? They're not all flipping burgers.

David Voas
Manchester University

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