AJC ruling on alleged plagiarism in the Leadership 2 course

On 6 February 2017 the Ashesi Judicial Committee (AJC) ruled in a case of alleged plagiarism in Leadership 2 course. 

The AJC concluded that the student, a member of the Class of 2019, was guilty of plagiarism, after finding that a significant portion of the paper was from other sources, and was inadequately attributed.  Furthermore, the AJC concluded that a large part of the paper was written by someone else. 

As stated in Ashesi’s student handbook:

Academic dishonesty includes plagiarism, unauthorized exchange of information or use of material during an examination, unauthorized transfer of information or completed work among students, use of the same paper in more than one course, unauthorized collaboration on assignments, and other unethical behavior.  Disciplinary action will be taken against perpetrators of academic dishonesty. – Section 7.4

To further compound the issue, the AJC found that the student was relatively unresponsive to communication sent by the facilitator for the AJC, the Dean of Students, and Professor Adei, the professor for the course. 

After deliberating, the AJC arrived at the following sanctions:

  • The student will receive a failing grade for the course. 
  • The student has been suspended from Ashesi with immediate effect. The student will be allowed to return for the first semester of the 2017-18 academic year.
  • The student is required to send formal letters of apology to Professor Adei and the Dean of Students.

The fact that the student knowingly presented work that was not written entirely by the student increased the severity of the punishment. The AJC was also disheartened by the casual way in which the student treated emails from Professor Adei and the facilitator for the AJC, the Dean of Students.  By being slow in responding to communication the student showed gross disregard and disrespect for the AJC process.

Advice to the Ashesi Community

The AJC encourages the Community to consider how sloppy work, and a lack of understanding of plagiarism, ethics and integrity have grave repercussions and affect the wider community. The AJC would especially like to advise the Ashesi community of the following:

  • Student should submit work that is wholly theirs. Asking third parties to do papers and assignments is absolutely forbidden.
  • Students should take a great deal of responsibility in ensuring that work submitted is a true reflection of their capacity.
  • Students should make use of Ashesi resources such as the Writing Centre when their work needs to be reviewed.
  • Students should not ‘try their luck’ with plagiarism.  Plagiarism is subject to the full range of sanctions – failing a course to expulsion.
  • Students should be responsive to emails regarding academic or administrative matters, particularly those from faculty and staff.

Academic honesty is very important at Ashesi and is central to our mission.  We trust that the Ashesi Community will learn and grow through these experiences.