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SPCH 1318 | Interpersonal Communications | Professor Cardenas: Plagiarism and Collusion

In a nutshell, plagiarisim is passing someone else's words or thoughts off as your own original words and thoughts. Collusion is related to plagiarism, but it involves working with another person to hand in work that's not your own. 

Plagiarism and collusion can be intentional or unintentional; some students commit plagiarism without meaning to if they don't know how to properly cite their sources or if they get extensive help on an assignment from a friend or classmate. Scroll down this page to find out more.

Procedure 6-4-b: Cheating and Plagiarism

The following institutional guidelines concerning cheating, plagiarism, and collusion are provided for the information of all students enrolled in any course offered by San Jacinto College. Gaining knowledge and practicing honesty go hand in hand. The importance of knowledge properly gained is reinforced by the grading system. The importance of honesty fully practiced is emphasized by rules against cheating, plagiarism, and collusion. Any act of cheating, plagiarism, or collusion in any degree subjects a student to the disciplinary procedures listed below.


Students must be completely honest in all phases of their work. Cheating includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • dishonesty of any kind on examinations, assignments, or program requirements;
  • unauthorized possession of examinations or unapproved notes or sources at any time, whether used or not;
  • copying or obtaining information from another student during an examination or performance of a lab skill or competency;
  • alteration or falsification of course or academic records; and
  • unauthorized entry into or presence in any office.


Documenting the use of others’ work is important because it recognizes the original author’s effort, establishes the student writer’s credibility, and supports the audience’s future research. Plagiarism is offering the work of another as one’s own, intentionally or unintentionally, without proper acknowledgment. Students who fail to give appropriate credit for ideas or material they take from another, whether a fellow student or a resource writer, are guilty of plagiarism (i.e., stealing the words or ideas of another).

The College may contract with companies or organizations that provide plagiarism-detection services. Such companies may receive students’ work for the purpose of comparing the students’ work with a reference database. Students enrolling at San Jacinto College agree as a condition of their enrollment that their work may be submitted to such companies for the purpose of plagiarism detection and that the company may retain a copy of the work for plagiarism-detection purposes. Such companies will not copy, use, or distribute the students’ work.

Responding to Violations

Faculty have the responsibility to initiate disciplinary action in response to violations of the rules regarding academic honesty. A faculty member is responsible for collecting any evidence of cheating at the time it occurs. A student may not withdraw from the course during the investigation of an incident of academic dishonesty or when a course grade of F has been imposed. A record will be kept of any imposed penalty or disciplinary action.


If, in the judgment of the instructor, cheating, plagiarism, or collusion has occurred, he or she may assess a penalty with a recorded reprimand:

  • recommendation for suspension from the College or expulsion from a program, which is submitted to the provost; the provost’s decision is final.
  • failure of the course; the student may appeal the grade through the Final Grade Appeal process.
  • failure of the assignment by the instructor; the instructor’s decision is final.
  • reduced grade on the assignment by the instructor; the instructor’s decision is final.
  • a reasonable penalty assessed by the instructor; the instructor’s decision is final.

The instructor will notify the student of his or her decision concerning the student’s grade and whether or not further disciplinary action is recommended before filing the report as indicated below. If a student will not meet with the instructor or if notification cannot take place because of a student’s unavailability or incorrect contact information, the process proceeds as specified. Faculty should also communicate with their department chairs/program directors and deans regarding any violation of the college honesty code. Should the instructor recommend suspension or expulsion of the student, the provost has the responsibility and authority to determine whether the student will be suspended or expelled.

Reporting Cheating and Plagiarism

The instructor will prepare an Academic Dishonesty Incident Report for the provost, the dean, department chair and/or program director. The report indicates the nature of the incident and the resulting penalty. The student has the privilege of making a written declaration on his or her own behalf to the instructor. Copies of this declaration, which are not construed as an appeal, but for information only, will be filed with the provost. (See the Student Handbook.)

Procedure #:


Procedure Name:

 Cheating and Plagiarism



Adopted Date:

 March 2, 1981

Revision/Reviewed Date:

 February 9, 2009;  2014

Effective Dates:

 March 2, 1981; May 2, 1994; February 6, 2008; June 4, 2013

Associated Policy:


The San Jacinto College Student Handbook does not define collusion in its plagiarism section, but collusion is just as serious as plagiarism because you are not representing your own work honestly. 

Here are a few good definitions of collusion:

  • "Collusion is acting with another person with the intention to deceive. It is unacceptable to submit the work, or part of the work, of someone who studied the subject previously, even with their permission. It is also unacceptable to have someone else write any part of an assignment for you." (Deakin University)
  • "Collusion is permitting someone else to have a hand in writing your paper. If you have a friend, parent, or roommate edit or change any text in your paper, that is collusion. If you pay someone to write or edit a paper for you, that is collusion." (Ladd)
  • "Collusion is the collaboration between two or more students in the preparation, writing or production of a course assignment, or part thereof, under circumstances where the students knew or had reason to know that the assignment, or part thereof, was intended to be the product of each student’s individual effort." (UWI)

So in a nutshell, collusion is working so closely with someone else on your work that your work is no longer your own. 

If you get tips on grammar or organization from a Writing Center tutor or your professor, that is not collusion. It's important to get feedback on your writing! 

But if you let another student, tutor, friend, or family member write part or all of your assignment, or if you re-use material they've already written without giving credit, you've crossed the line into collusion. You should always turn in original work that you have created expressly for that assignment. 

How do you avoid plagiarizing and colluding? The short answer is to always turn in original work and to always cite your sources correctly and consistently. 

Need help with citing? Check out the resources in this guide or use some of the links below to help you avoid plagiarism in specific cases. 

Think you have plagiarism down? Test your knowledge with the links below.

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