AJC Ruling on Alleged Academic Dishonesty in Africa in the International Setting Course

On April 30, 2010 the Ashesi Judicial Committee (AJC) ruled against one (1) of two (2) students for academic dishonesty.

Facts of the case:

  1. Student A presented a paper that constituted a 62% similarity index from turn-it-in and demonstrated a lack of original work and improper referencing. The student admitted to the charge.
  2. Student B presented a paper that constituted a 62% similarity index from turn-it-in. This student had already completed an informal resolution in a previous Africa in the International Setting course.

Both students had been provided an opportunity to rewrite the paper by their lecturer. It was the rewritten paper that had the high similarity index.


  1. Student A received a failing grade for the paper. She would also receive a grade no better than a D+ for the course.
  2. Student B received no sanction from the AJC. The student had simply presented most of her original work in the rewrite and Turn-it-in saw that as self plagiarism. Ordinarily if that paper had been presented to another course that would have constituted self-plagiarism and academic dishonesty. However, given that this was a re-write of the same assignment, this was not the case.

The AJC hopes that others learn from this case and avoid making the same mistakes. The AJC would especially like to advise students of the following:

  1. Presenting unoriginal work constitutes plagiarism. Your lecturers want to hear your voice in a paper, even if you properly reference if the majority of the paper is someone else’s opinions and ideas, it’s not originalBe aware that assignments are meant to assess your own thinking, not that of others.
  2. Avoid procrastination and begin assignments early. Both students admitted to not spending adequate time on the paper.
  3. Seek clarifications from your lecturer in rewriting papers as it is an opportunity for you to improve your grade.
  4. Communicate with lecturers about any difficulties with assignments and ask what percentage of referencing is considered “too much” and therefore, plagiarism.
  5. Visit the Writing Center for help on writing papers.