A Departmental, Philosophical/Plagiarism Discussion for All

So, on Thursday, a student asked me, “Do you ever have, like, philosophical discussions with people?”

“All the time,” I said, thinking of some of the stuff that goes on here, as well as discussions with colleagues and students and friends, including one that broke out in our department email on Wednesday night. The catalyst, which I have permission to post but with the name withheld by request, was this:

Hi folks,

I’m in a debate right now about self-plagiarism. I believe it’s legit, as students should be expected to produce work original for each semester. I have a student retaking a course that resubmitted one of their papers. The argument I’m hearing is that students (and many others) are not aware of the concept and therefore shouldn’t be held accountable (I think they should, would it matter if you told a cop that you didn’t know you were breaking the law?). What do you all think?

So, rather than tell you what you said, I’ll deflect it unto y’all–what do you think?