College regulations this year for the first time forbid students to submit the same paper "in substance" to two courses unless they first obtain the approval of instructors in both.
Resubmitting a paper without permission had never been explicitly prohibited in previous years. The new ruling--contained in the "Regulations for Students in Harvard College" distributed at registration--will provide a firmer basis for disciplinary action than has previously been available.
The rule "makes clear to the undergraduate what has always been clear to the Faculty," Dean Monro explained yesterday. Using the same paper twice "is just an inappropriate way for a man to do his work," he said.
Monro is chairman of the 15-man Administrative Board, which oversees academic standards and takes ordinary disciplinary action in the College.
In the past, he said, "one of the troubles we ran into when we talked to students was that they'd say, 'well, it's not in the book!'" He recalled that the rule against plagiarism had only been added to the rule book in recent years, when a parent's challenge made a firm prohibition seem necessary.
Students Erased Corrections
Only two or three cases of reused papers have come up in recent year, according to Monro. The students involved were caught when they handed in an old paper with the previous corrections erased, or when they handed in a paper that was irrelevant to the course they were taking, he said.
The only other new undergraduate rule this year specifies that "a student living in rooms or an apartment outside the College is expected to behave responsibly, to maintain good order in his rooms, and decorum in his relationships to the community."
Both rules originated within the Administrative Board and were approved by the entire Faculty last Spring.