Two of the most important principles of American higher education are academic freedom and academic honesty. Academic freedom is the right of all members of the college community to participate in a free and open exchange of ideas. With this freedom comes the responsibility for academic integrity.

Brooklyn College has adopted a policy on academic integrity:

(Adopted by Policy Council, May 8, 1991)

It is unacceptable to falsify the data upon which you base your ideas or to present the ideas of others as your own, either intentionally or unintentionally. Academic integrity cannot tolerate either cheating or plagiarism.

Cheating is the use or attempted use of fraud, deception or misrepresentation in any academic exercise. Examples of cheating include:

These are typical cheating examples, not an exhaustive list. Students who cheat almost always are aware that what they are doing is wrong. When in doubt, ask your instructor.

Plagiarism is representing the words or ideas of another as one's own work in any academic exercise. The college community expects that a student's work is a product of that student's own thought and research. One should acknowledge ideas which originate with others or words which are taken from another source. While students generally know what is allowable on examinations, many are less sure about what is allowed when writing a paper.
Some rules to follow to avoid plagiarism are:

Obviously, learning involves reading, digesting and understanding the thoughts and ideas of experts, but always try to make your own thoughts central in the process. A paper which consists mostly of a string of quotes is not a good paper, even if you have avoided plagiarism by using lots of proper footnotes.

The following plagiarism examples are reproduced by permission of the publisher from Fredrick C. Crews, The Random House Handbook (New York: Random House, Inc. 1987, pages 502-504).

Version A:
Version B:

Version C:

It is your responsibility to learn the standard practices of documentation in different fields. The examples given above cannot cover all situations. When in doubt, discuss the matter with your instructor. Every field has written descriptions of its accepted methods which are available in the library. Your instructors or a librarian can refer you to these authorities. Do not be reluctant 'Lo ask questions about these issues in your classes.

The penalties for cheating or plagiarism begin with failure of the particular paper or exercise and may include disciplinary sanctions, including suspension or expulsion from the college. These penalties apply as well to those who assist others in cheating. Students should be aware that one's academic disciplinary record can have serious long term implications. For example, law school admission offices require that you have the college notify them of any disciplinary records, including those involving academic integrity.

Recently a winner of the Nobel Prize in biology was reprimanded because someone in his laboratory had falsified data in an experiment. A Harvard professor and past president of a national professional society had to resign when it was revealed that review articles which he had authored many years previously included many unacknowledged quotes and paraphrases from sources. The demand for absolute integrity in academic work applies to everyone.

Similar standards apply outside of academia. Senator Joseph Biden was forced to drop out of the 1988 presidential race after it was discovered that he had "borrowed" a speech from a member of Parliament in England without acknowledging it.

Adopted by Policy Council, October 29, 1991