By Greg Schaber
Paul Fiorelli sat behind his desk grading papers when he suddenly became excited. Grading papers is a monotonous task, but occasionally a good paper comes along that makes the effort worthwhile. For a moment, Fiorelli, a professor of legal studies, thought he stumbled onto just such a paper.
As he continued reading, though, a cloud of doubt began settling over his mind. He started comparing the quality of the paper with the student who wrote it, and the two weren’t matching up. "I thought it was really good," he says. "And then I thought perhaps it was too good."
Turning to his computer, he logged onto a legal research database, and his instincts proved correct. Five pages of the student’s seven-page paper were lifted from a Harvard University civil rights law review. Fiorelli’s heart sank.
"I don’t want to say I was mad, but I was disappointed," says Fiorelli. "I confronted the student, and he admitted to it. My syllabus was very specific about that. I went through the dean and the academic vice president, and we had him removed from the program. It was a troubling incident."
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