Latina student accused of plagiarism for using the word 'hence'
Plagiarism is a serious offense, especially in colleges. One student was accused of stealing someone else's work -- and she says it's because of her race.
Suffolk University student Tiffany Martínez said that a professor accused her of plagiarism and cited her using the word "hence." Martínez told Buzzfeed News that not only did the professor wrote "this is not your word" and circled "hence," but she wanted her to go back and "indicate" where she copy and pasted other work.
The professor also implied to other students that Martínez did something wrong. "She spoke loudly enough that students at the back of the room heard and asked if I was OK after class," she said. Martínez then spent the rest of the class doubting herself, even though she knew she didn't plagiarize.
After class, Martínez wrote a blog post about the incident, called "Academia, Love Me Back," and shared it on Facebook:
In the blog post, the student -- who herself is an aspiring professor -- discussed why she thinks the incident was racially charged. "My last name and appearance immediately instills a set of biases before I have the chance to open my mouth," she said.
PHOTOS: See social reactions to the allegation
"These stereotypes and generalizations forced on marginalized communities are at times debilitating and painful," Martínez continued, "As a minority in my classrooms, I continuously hear my peers and professors use language that both covertly and overtly oppresses the communities I belong to."
While most of her blog posts receive around 15 views, Martínez said this one received thousands -- among them, other students who have experienced similar discrimination. Martínez said the support she's received is overwhelming.
She went to the head of Suffolk University's sociology department; on Friday, she tweeted that she will speak to the professor as well:
An investigation has been opened, and according to the university's paper the acting president sent an email about the incident. The email said, "As an institution that was founded on the highest principles of inclusivity and respect, we take this and any such concern extremely seriously."