Vote for Plagiarists?!

Presented by: April Yannarelli

Subject Area(s):

Grade Level(s):


Using the example of Vice Presidential candidate Joe Biden being accused of plagiarism, students will research college academic honesty policies, including the appeal process.

Goals & Objectives:

Instructional Goals:  Students will be aware of the ramifications of plagiarism and the process of accusation and appeal.


Learning Objectives:  After searching for the academic honesty policy for the school of their choice, senior students will identify one potential penalty for plagiarism and one opportunity for appeal. 

Motivational Goals: Students will want to avoid getting in trouble for plagiarizing.



Materials:  Computers, college websites on plagiarism, article on Joe Biden's history of plagiarism, blackboard, plagiarism worksheet (see "Biden Worksheet" in Supporting Files)



Lifson, T. (Aug. 30, 2008). Joe Biden's Plagiarism Problem. American Thinker. 


Syracuse University "Academic Integrity Policy"


Introduction:  Students will enter the room and see the statement "Vice President Elect, Joe Biden is a thief!" written on the board. The class will be informed of the accusation made about Joe Biden during his career at Syracuse University.  Students will discuss how their opinions of Joe Biden have changed since finding out about his actions. Students will then be given the scenario of a student who has the highest GPA in class but is later accused of plagiarism.  Students will be asked how their opinion of the student changes with the accusation.  Even if they are proven innocent, will the student always be “guilty.”


Body: Knowing that accusations of plagiarism can damage their academic reputation, students will choose one of the colleges they are hoping to attend and search for their academic honesty policy.  If students have not applied yet or are not attending college, they may choose from the following schools: Cazenovia College, UNC Chapel Hill, Stanford University, and Miami University.  Once students locate the page, they will summarize the policy, penalties, and MLA Handbook proper MLA citations.


Conclusion:  Students will form groups and share their findings.



In their groups, each student will share one potential penalty for plagiarism and one opportunity for appeal. One member of each group, the "leader", will share one new penalty and one appeal opportunity with the class and add it to the master list.

Supporting Files: