Originally created 05/02/04

Plagiarism keeps students from graduating



ATHENS, Ga. - A pair of University of Georgia students were kept from Friday's journalism school graduation ceremony, just a few days after articles they wrote for a student newspaper were found to be plagiarized.

John Soloski, the dean of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, said the seniors - David Kross and Jessica Thomas - violated UGA's academic honesty policy, thereby flunking a one-credit course they needed to graduate.

According to that policy, the minimum penalty for students who don't contest a charge of academic fraud is a failing grade in the course, in this case a practicum that required students to write for the independent student paper, The Red & Black.

Mr. Soloski said the students ultimately will graduate, but first must write a paper on journalism ethics and make up the course.

Neither Mr. Kross nor Ms. Thomas was named during Friday morning's Grady College graduation at the Classic Center in downtown Athens. But their names were on the program.

Mr. Kross, of Hilton Head, S.C., admitted taking information from a 2002 Athens Banner-Herald story on the Athens Twilight Criterium and including it in his article in Monday's edition of The Red & Black.

Ms. Thomas, of Hiawassee, plucked several phrases from a column that ran in the student paper in 1994 and claimed them as her own in a column published Tuesday. In an interview last week, Ms. Thomas said she did not mislead readers intentionally.

Mr. Kross did not return a telephone call seeking comment Friday. Ms. Thomas would not comment.