Submitting a friend’s old assignment

code | scenario | smart strategies | consequences

Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters

1. It shall be an offence for a student knowingly:

(d) to represent as one’s own an idea or expression of an idea or work of another in any academic examination or term test or in connection with any other form of academic work, i.e. to commit plagiarism;

Wherever in the Code an offence is described as depending on “knowing”, the offence shall likewise be deemed to have been committed if the person ought reasonably to have known.

Scenario – Submitting a friend’s old assignment

Your Computer Science assignment worth 40% of your mark is due on Friday and you have yet to get started on it. You are busy juggling a part-time job and school work while taking care of your younger siblings at home. Given how busy you are, you ask your friend if she can show you a copy of her assignment that she previously submitted in the same course last year. Your friend sends you a copy of her assignment, but asks you to only use it as a reference, and not to copy her work. The night before the assignment is due, you have to work at your job until midnight and haven’t even started your assignment. You feel like it’s too late to ask the instructor for an extension, since the assignment is due at 9am. In order to submit your paper on time, you decide to submit a copy of your friend’s paper, claiming it as your own.

The Issue

Since you decided to use your friend’s work as your own, you are committing an academic offence. Every student is expected to produce their own work for which they hope to receive credit.

The instructor will be able to identify your friend’s assignment using the plagiarism detection software, and both you and your friend will be approached to speak about the assignment by your instructor. Both you and your friend are likely to face sanctions under the Code. 

Smart Strategies

  • It is always best to ask the instructor for an extension, or even to just submit the assignment a day late, rather than committing an academic offence.  In almost all cases, the penalty for committing an academic offence will be far stricter than the penalty you might receive for submitting the assignment a day late. 
  • If you are experiencing difficulty managing your workload, there are many academic resources and services available to help you. Contact your undergraduate advisor, or visit the Student Life website for a list of the many academic supports available to you.
  • You may also want to talk to a counsellor or visit Health Services for help if you are feeling overwhelmed. Use the NAVI mental health wayfinder to find the best supports to help you right now.
  • See also: Group work; Students sharing academic work

Range of Consequences

For a discussion of consequences see Key Consequences.