Honor Committee Releases Annual Report; Student Violations Increase

Posted: December 12, 2002 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Dan Walsch

The total number of reported cases of plagiarism and cheating among George Mason’s students increased between the 2000-01 and 2001-02 academic year, according to a new report issued by the university’s Honor Committee.

The number of cases rose from 105 to 165, as did the number of students actually charged with these offenses: 151 in 2000-01 and 202 in 2001-02.

Individual offenses saw a heavy increase in reported cases of plagiarism. This total nearly doubled from 67 in 2000-01 to 135 the following year. However, regarding cheating, the number of cases dropped from 79 in 2000-01 to 65 in 2001-02. By far, these cases involved an overwhelmingly higher number of undergraduate students. In 2001-02, 183 of the 202 students charged were undergraduates as compared to 2000-01 when 129 of the 151 students charged with infractions were undergraduates.

Lauren Parker, chair of the Honor Committee, reported that in addition to these statistics, the committee recommended several changes designed to make George Mason’s Honor Code enforcement process more efficient and responsive to the needs of the university’s academic community. These recommendations include expediting the process so that less serious charges may be handled quickly and composing a “plain language” version of the Honor Code so that it will be easier to understand and help foster greater academic integrity at George Mason.

It is hoped that these recommended changes will be completed sometime in the upcoming spring semester. They will then be put forth to the student body for approval. Assisting the Honor Committee in this effort were James Fletcher, associate professor of Philosophy, who served as chair of the task force on academic integrity; and Karen Rosenblum, vice president of University Life, who served as chair of the task force on the honor code.

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