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Copyright : Plagiarism and Academic Integrity

The Punishable Perils of Plagiarism - Melissa Huseman D'Annunzio

Plagiarism and Meadville Lombard's Academic Integrity Policy (from Student Handbook)

Plagiarism is using any source in work submitted for evaluation and grading, without proper acknowledgment. Sources can be anything ranging from (but not limited to) published and unpublished works, books, articles, sermons, lectures, websites, videos, and even your own previously submitted papers. Plagiarism is an extremely serious offense toward the scholarly community, one that can result in an academic sanction. Ordinarily, instances of plagiarism are discovered by the faculty member who has the authority to confront a student, assess the gravity of the instance, and determine the academic consequences within the course in question, up to and including the assignment of a failing grade. The faculty member must also report all instances of plagiarism to the Senior Director of Contextual Ministry, providing the documentation of the alleged plagiarism and a description of the measures taken by the faculty member, including grade implications. General requirements for the proper acknowledgment of sources of academic work are as follows.

To avoid plagiarizing, you must properly acknowledge your sources through citations. Whenever you quote specific words or phrases, paraphrase an author’s original idea, or refer to someone’s original work—whether that be research data, a creative work of art, a social media post, etc.—you must properly acknowledge from whom and where those words, ideas, data, facts, etc. came from through a citation. This applies to any work you submit or publish as a student, whether it be a thesis, a course paper, or even a relatively informal discussion post. The house citation and formatting style at MLTS is Chicago Style, which is outlined in The Chicago Manual of Style (CMS and the abbreviated version of the CMS, Turabian’s A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (hereafter referred to as Turabian). You are required to cite and format your assignments in Chicago Style. You may only use another academic citation and formatting style such as APA or MLA with the prior approval of your instructor.

Detailed below are the most salient issues to be aware of when citing resources. For more guidance on when and how to cite a resource, including templates for how to format your Chicago Style citations properly, please refer to the library’s Citation Guide at


Regardless of length, each quotation must be placed in quotation marks or clearly indented beyond the regular margin. Each quotation must be accompanied, within the text or in a footnote, by a precise indication of the source following CMS guidelines. Any sentence or phrase that is not the original work of the student must be acknowledged.


Any paraphrased or summarized material must also be specifically noted in a footnote or in the text, and the source must be acknowledged following CMS guidelines. A thorough rewording or rearrangement of an author’s text does not relieve one of this responsibility. Occasionally, students maintain that they have read a source long before writing a paper and have unwittingly duplicated some of its phrases or ideas. This is not a valid excuse. The student is responsible for taking adequate notes so that the use of phrasing may be acknowledged. Borrowed Ideas and Facts Any ideas or facts that are borrowed should be specifically acknowledged in a footnote or in the text, even if the idea or fact has been further elaborated by the student. This includes but is not limited to ideas or facts that you have read, heard in a lecture, or seen in a video. Occasionally, a student preparing an essay has consulted an essay or body of notes on a similar subject by another student. If the student has done so, they must state the fact and clearly indicate the nature and extent of their obligation. The name and class of the author of an essay or notes that are consulted should be given, and the student should be prepared to show the work consulted to the instructor, if requested to do so. Some ideas, facts, formulas, and other kinds of information that are widely known and considered to be in the “public domain” of common knowledge do not always require citation. The criteria for common knowledge vary among disciplines; students in doubt should consult a faculty member. For more in-depth information on when it is necessary to cite a source and how to go about properly citing a source in Chicago Style, please refer to the Library’s Citation Guide ( or else ask a librarian for help.

Self-Plagiarism and Multiple Submissions

If you reproduce your own original phrases, findings, or ideas from an earlier submitted final paper, presentation, or published work into a new paper or presentation, you must cite it according to CMS guidelines. Failure to do so is considered self-plagiarism. Under certain conditions, and with the instructors’ permission, the student may be permitted to rewrite an earlier work or to satisfy two academic requirements by producing a single piece of work more extensive than that which would satisfy either requirement on its own. Failure to gain prior permission from the instructors constitutes a breach of academic integrity.

Generative AI/ChatGPT

While you are encouraged to draw upon and cite outside sources, any assignment you submit under your own name is ultimately your own work. As such, you may not use generative AI technology such as ChatGPT without the prior approval of your instructor. Any approved usage of generative AI technology must be properly cited. Submitting unapproved work that was generated by AI under your own name is plagiarism and constitutes a breach of academic integrity.

The Difference Between Copyright and Plagiarism

"It is important to distinguish between infringement of copyright and plagiarism. In an academic setting, copyright law really only protects the expression of ideas (the specific words and images used), not the actual ideas themselves. If actual ideas are copied, this is plagiarism but not copyright infringement, and it is unethical, but not illegal. If you were to take a work that sits in the public domain, and change it around a bit and call it your own, you are not breaking the law, but it is plagiarism. However, if you take a copyrighted work and claim it as your original work, it is both copyright infringement and plagiarism. If you take a portion of a work that is copyrighted, change it around a little bit and insert it into your own work without attribution, you are definitely plagiarizing; in addition, depending on how much you use, this could either be fair use or an infringement of copyright." - Robert Harington, on The Scholarly Kitchen blog

Citation Guide

Free Citation Management Services


The boxes "Free Citation Management Services," "Plagiarism Tutorials" and "Plagiarism in the News" were adapted from the text of the Atla Copyright LibGuide (licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License) created by Christine Fruin, Scholarly Communication and Digital Projects Manager at the American Theological Library Association.

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