Yesterday I was accused of plagiarism by my professor. who earlier in the week I had called him out for one of his policies being against the school policy. I feel like now I'm experiencing some kind of personal vendetta on his part. Then yesterday that professor pulled me aside and said theses are the facts and said I had deliberately done falsification and plagiarism and It was a bit overwhelming at that point . so I took a few minutes to collect myself then marched myself into his office and sat down and tried to discuss the matter with him. He began to show me what I did and I had always thought plagiarism was not giving credit to the authors but I had done In text citations and a bibliography citing the authors and I was under the assumption that this was a research paper so I was just putting in the cold hard facts and didn't think I was committing any academic dishonesty. Then my professor gave me two options the first one was to take it to an higher authority which he repeated several times that it would not be wise for me to do so and if I did he would tarnish my academic reputation at this university 2nd was to go through the rest of the class and act like nothing happened and know I would automatically be getting an failing grade at the end of this semester. I feel like I'm being black mailed here idk what I should do.

  • 8
    Hi, and welcome to Academia.SE! Can you please take a deep breath, calm down a little bit, and explain your question more clearly?
    – jakebeal
    Commented Apr 25, 2015 at 10:51
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    Regardless of your "calling out" I am not sure what your question is. Have you had a homework and you verbatim copied paragraphs or large chunks of text from research papers (even if you cited them)? If yes, did you do it in 1-2 paragraphs or did you do it in many places? Please clarify, if you want to get meaningful answers. And why does he accuse you of falsification? Is there anything that justifies that?
    – Alexandros
    Commented Apr 25, 2015 at 11:32
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    What is there to challenge? You copied verbatim texts and quotes from the internet and for some of them you accidentally forgot the corresponding citation. Am I correct? Although you claim you did it by mistake, this is (to my understanding) still plagiarism and depending on your school policy you will probably fail the course or possibly worse.
    – Alexandros
    Commented Apr 25, 2015 at 12:03
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    I didn't expect to gain anything. I was just trying to understand his reason behind it and understand why his policy was different than the university's official policy. — Life Lessons 101: Spend more time worrying about the policies that have a greater impact on you (e.g. your school's plagiarism policy) than the policies that don't.
    – Mad Jack
    Commented Apr 25, 2015 at 14:14
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    Wait: you're an expert on school policies and what a professor can and cannot require, but you don't know that you can't copy quotes off the internet for a research paper? At this point you need to decide which is worse in the long term: a justified sanction for plagiarism, or a failing grade in a course. From what you've told us thus far, you'll be ending up with one or the other.
    – Corvus
    Commented Apr 26, 2015 at 2:05

1 Answer 1


The first thing you should do is calm down, and realize failing a class, or even getting kicked out of school, is not the end of the world. (Note administrative punishment for plagiarism will probably be worse than just failing a class, though I think most schools would not expel you for a first offence.)

The second thing you should do is make sure you understand what plagiarism is (see also, e.g., here), and understand whether you truly, intentionally or not, committed plagiarism. Here the main question is: does it look like you were trying to pass off someone else's work as your own or not? It seems that your professor thinks so, though it is possible he is being more strict with you.

After you do the first two things, you should apologize to your professor (in person) for what you have done wrong. This includes (a) confronting him in a rude way about his policy, and (b) improper citations. Your apologies should be sincere, explain your original intents (at least assuming you didn't mean to be disrespectful or dishonest), why what you did was wrong, and show that you know now what you should have done. During this meeting, you should try to be as respectful and non-confrontational as possible.

If your professor then seems somewhat placated, and convinced of your sincerity, you can politely ask him if there is something you can do to make up for this, such as redoing your assignment. If he says no, you have to accept his decision. Unless it is clear from your assignment that there was no intent of plagiarism, it probably is a bad idea to take this issue higher up.

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    +1 I must say you turn a bad question into a good Q&A. I retracted my close vote because of your nice answer.
    – Nobody
    Commented Apr 25, 2015 at 13:45

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