Student Wins Plagiarism Battle, but Not the War

     (CN) – A University of Tampa student is entitled to have a plagiarism charge removed from her record, but the university doesn’t have to drop the course and recalculate her grade, a Florida appeals court ruled.




     “The parties seemed to have embarked upon a ‘battle royale,’ with no sign of either side willing to consider a diplomatic solution,” Chief Judge Casanueva wrote in a concurring opinion. “One wonders if, after the battlefield falls silent and a victor has been declared, there will be any spoils of the war left to enjoy.”
     A.K. wrote a paper for Anthony LaRose’s criminology class advocating the abolishment of the Posse Comitatus Act, which limits the government’s ability to use the military for domestic law enforcement.
     LaRose, who apparently disagreed with A.K.’s opinion, gave her an “F” and stated that the paper was filled with plagiarism. The professor extended the failing grade to the entire course.
     The hearing board determined that A.K. had inadvertently committed plagiarism through citation errors, but the “F” grade remained.
In granting a temporary restraining order, the court noted that the record showed some animosity between A.K. and the professor. Another student who made similar citation errors received a “C” and was not accused of plagiarism.
     “Logic suggests that to present the words or ideas of another person as your own requires some degree of intent. It is undisputed that the University’s position is that the intent to plagiarize is unnecessary,” the Lakeland-based judges ruled.
     However, the appeals court overturned the trial court’s second order, which decreed that the course and the grade must be dropped from the permanent record, with the student’s grade average recalculated.
     The judges ruled that the order improperly bypassed the procedure for a permanent injunction, which is what the order constituted: permanent relief.
     “There is no further injunctive relief the trial court could grant in a subsequent permanent injunction,” the judges ruled.

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