The advent of business entities engaged solely in the commercial production of research papers for university students is a matter of grave concern to the faculty and officers of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. The proliferation and apparent success of these commercial ventures in the marketplace only amplifies the concerns of the academic community.
Higher education is diminished in value whenever any force operates to curtail the abilities of professors to move college-level students beyond "rote" learning towards individual academic investigation and research. The ultimate welfare of higher learning lies not in merely expanding numbers within our population that have shared professorial viewpoints by "rote" learning. Our society's true interests in higher education are fully served only when our university graduates have progressed beyond assimilation of existing knowledge and have also learned the techniques and skills of academic self-investigation--of learning through one's own research.
Traditionally, this has been the important role of the research term paper in the college curricula. Without this strategic tool, the ability of our universities to develop self-investigation skills in our bachelor's degree candidates is seriously reduced.
Especially for this reason, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville is prepared to take whatever action is within its authority (through internal policies or external law) to protect the integrity of the University's academic processes from diminishment by use of commercially produced research papers. The University will pursue every available course of action to penalize use of such commercial papers by students in connection with course work at SIUE.
The University has promulgated minimal standards of conduct for students enrolled at Edwardsville. The Student Conduct and Student Grievances: Rights and Responsibilities policy expressly prohibits "academic cheating or plagiarism," and provides that engaging in such conduct provides grounds for sanctions which may include separation from the University by suspension, dismissal, or expulsion.
Students necessarily will bear the brunt of punitive actions arising out of the exploitation of traditional academic processes represented by the commercialized research paper businesses. There is nothing either unfair or unfortunate in that situation, since, after all, the exploitation occurs only with the decision by the student to abuse the academic process by purchase of these papers. The term paper industry could not exist without student purchases.
The University will not, however, be satisfied to seek punitive measures only against students who choose to engage in commercialized plagiarism. Efforts will be made to enlist the counsel of the University's legal advisors in determining additional means, through existing law or new law, and by action against students or others, through which the interests of academic integrity can be adequately served and protected.
Approved by Chancellor effective 5/15/72
This policy was issued on February 1, 1996, replacing the July 1, 1991 version.
Document Reference: 1I7
Origin: AAT 29; OP 5/9/91