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Plagiarism In A First Draft

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Kent State University seal by JonRidinger via Wikipedia Commons

Many of us may remember a particularly harrowing paper that we wrote for school. Writing, researching and editing draft after draft until it was finally ready to be seen by a teacher or professor. Very few, if any of us, would have wanted to be judged by the first draft. A first draft is just the start.

However, according to an article by writer Doug Brown of Scene, that is what happened to Carolyn Pfeiffer-Fiala. Further, she was also charged with plagiarism. The charge might not have been as serious if she had been in grade school, high school or maybe even pursuing her undergraduate degree. It would probably not have resulted in her filing a lawsuit against her school. But it did.

The November 2013 Complaint alleges breach of contract among other things. Pfeiffer-Fiala was a doctoral candidate (Ph.D) in education at Kent State in Ohio enrolled from 2008 through 2013. She spent over $50,000.00 pursuing her Education Specialist Degree.

In the fall of 2012, Pfeiffer-Fiala was working on her dissertation and submitted more than 50 pages of a first draft of Chapter One. The plan was to discuss her progress and the content with Kristie Pretti-Frontzcak, who was supervising her work. Instead, her supervisor accused her of plagiarism and she ended up having to withdraw from Kent State without her degree.

The Complaint states, “Defendant knew that the dissertation to be submitted was merely a first draft submittal and that the draft was subject to revision, correction, and incompleteness.”

Pfeiffer-Fiala denies the allegations of plagiarism and states that her reputation has suffered and is impacting her ability to find work. She is seeking reinstatement at Kent or to be awarded her degree and monetary damages. The case was referred for mediation by the Court of Claims of Ohio to the Dispute Resolution Section of the Ohio Supreme Court, where it remains.

Do you think that it’s fair to hold a first draft to the same plagiarism standard as a final version?

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January 27th, 2014 at 3:37 pm

Posted in Legal News

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