A little background...this is a very small (5 students) OB class. They were told to research the pros and cons of different birth control options as well as patient education. They asked their instructor if they could put it into table format and she agreed. Four out of the five included a reference sheet with a reference on it. Nowhere on their papers was there any in text citations. 80% of their papers were direct word for word out of their textbooks. They all felt that referencing at the end was adequate.
We met with each of these students and I honestly feel that they did not purposely plagiarize. All four admit that it was plagiarism and they have learned a very valuable lesson.
This is where is gets a little trickier...One of the four has had some previous issues. He took a picture of an exam and was smart enough to post it on Facebook. He automatically failed that course and had to repeat it. Another time he plagiarized a paper. We sat down with him and had a very long discussion about this and his actions. As per faculty protocol, he was exited from the nursing program for having two academic dishonesty issues. However, the academic team (not part of the nursing department) decided that they really like him and they overturned the nursing department and allowed him one more chance into the nursing program. When he started back up some of the members of the academic team and the nursing team spent a couple of hours going over stipulations to allowing him back in. One was that there could be NO academic issues.
Well, now that this has happened, he is scheduled to be exited from the program. Once again, the academic team does not feel that it was plagiarism. They feel that since he referenced in the back of his paper that it was an attempt and should not count as plagiarism.
To me, plagiarism is simple and clean cut. Either you write in your own words or you give credit. I am meeting with the academic team tomorrow and I have the backing of the entire nursing department. I just wanted to get somebody else's opinions.