Today in NC State History: Campus can’t control the copycats

February 4, 2015
By Chris Saunders

historyIconProfessors must spend time nowadays, no matter the discipline, explaining in class what constitutes plagiarism in research writing. They must alert students of potential research mistakes, either intentional or unintentional, that could cause students to violate the honor code.

But teaching students the difference between right and wrong might have been more difficult on this day in 1972, when the Technician reported a story about controversial advertisements. At the very time professors were demanding a high academic standards, students could open their student newspaper and see an advertisement for a paper-writing service.

“Recent Technician ads for such firms as Termpapers Unlimited and Collegiate Research offer termpapers according to the buyer’s specifications and advertise them as being ‘for research only,'” the paper reported.

Such companies passed their services off as a study aid, like Cliffs Notes, rather than suppliers on a market pushing plagiarism.

But NC State administrators seemingly had little doubt as to the companies’ motives. “I think it’s accurate to say that using such services and submitting them as your own work would be plagiarism,” said Don Solomon, who was assistant dean of student development. “If someone were caught doing it, he would come before the Judicial Board.”

Collegiate Research was one of several firms offering term papers to NC State students in the early 1970s.

Collegiate Research was one of several firms offering term papers to NC State students in the early 1970s.

Solomon added that the university would make no policy that would cease companies from advertising such services. He did, however, say that the university’s Publications Authority did have that power.

The issue hit home with Dean of Student Affairs Banks Talley, who cited a North Carolina statute which allowed for prosecution of companies selling term papers to students. It included a $500 maximum fine and a six-month prison term for such an offense.

“Those termpaper people are getting more blatant in their advertising,” Talley told the Technician.


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