Plagiarism compromises integrity

Gilvary argues that utilizing  ghostwriting services invalidates the work of other’s who honestly complete assignments. Buying papers from essay mills and freelance ghostwriters is becoming a very profitable practice, and many former professors are even

Coryandar GilvaryGilvary argues that utilizing  ghostwriting services invalidates the work of other’s who honestly complete assignments.

Buying papers from essay mills and freelance ghostwriters is becoming a very profitable practice, and many former professors are even entering this plagiarism industry to become ghostwriters.

“Unethical, though completely legal” is how Jennifer Sunseri, a former English professor at Texas Tech, explains it.

After being unemployed for three years, Sunseri began working for an essay mill, the Huffington Post reports. It is shocking that a former professor is a part of plagiarizing, which hurts the credibility of the academic system.

In the age of Google, paper mill websites have become big players in the plagiarism industry. These websites allow students to order a written paper on almost any subject, which is then delivered electronically before it is due. If the company has the piece custom written, then the process is completely legal. Technically, students are purchasing the copyright.

However, Dan Ariely, an economics professor from Duke University, conducted a study where he found that to be untrue in some cases. Out of four papers he ordered from different websites he found that two of them came up as plagiarized on The rest were not much better because as Ariely said they were, “gibberish,” and probably would not have received a passing grade.

The risk a student takes when ordering a paper online far outweighs the benefits. Taking morals completely out of the equation, students are still wasting money on a paper that will probably be useless or cause them to get caught plagiarizing.

Besides ordering papers online, many college students know someone that writes papers – for a price of course – just down the hall from them. These ghostwriters are usually skilled writers and are filled with promises of original papers and safety from disciplinary action. One Temple student who wishes to remain nameless, has actually written papers for a variety of Temple classes.

“I can’t say it’s not wrong, but it’s certainly not morally wrong,” the student said. “It’s only wrong against academic standards, because it undermines them. It’s not wrong like kicking a puppy is wrong. You’re not hurting anyone. It’s not the ghostwriting that stops students from learning, it’s themselves.”

If a student does not want to learn, they will find someone to write their paper, either online or locally. The ghostwriter is merely making profit off of students’ laziness.

Besides just the obvious threat of disciplinary action, plagiarism hurts students. They are not learning the material and the class is a complete waste of time and money if they’re paying someone else do the work.

There are some students that do not care how they get their degree, only that they do. These types of students are a waste of the professors’ and their peers’ time. They are cheating everyone else in the course since they’re getting credit for a class that others actually worked hard at completing.

It is not right to invalidate the hard work that other’s put in because they have no academic integrity. This is why plagiarism is in fact not a victimless crime. Each time someone passes a class with a paper they did not write, they are one step closer to getting a degree they did not rightfully earn. This just lowers the level of intellect people with degrees are seen as having and therefore lowers the importance of the said degree. Students should learn to take pride in their coursework so not only can they can be proud of their degrees, but their peers can as well.

Coryandar Gilvary can be reached at


1 Comment

  1. I appreciate the discussion of this issue. I think it leads to another issue, though, and that is the general breakdown of standards in the educational system. For example, for years rampant grade inflation has been documented, but we all ignore what this signifies, namely that students and faculty alike are often not being held to account. Moreover, I suspect that the proliferation of custom paper writing is fueled by the proliferation of online classes. It is easier to cheat when you never even come face to face with your instructors. And then there are the for-profit colleges, which really take students for a ride! But due to the deep pockets in that industry and corresponding well-funded lobbying, it’s not likely we’ll see any reform on that front. Really, custom papers and such, well they fit right into the current educational and political climate. As for my situation, I was a professor in the Russian program, not the English department. This is why I cannot even get a job teaching composition at the local community college, which, in turn, is why I began experimenting with custom paper writing in the first place.

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