The Levitt Writing Award

The donors of the Paul Levitt Undergraduate Writing Award wish to reward gracefully written arguments and analyses produced by undergraduate students currently enrolled at the University of Colorado Boulder. Eligible students are invited to submit an essay following the prompt detailed below. The most compelling essays will be selected to receive the award.


  • Applicants must be first or second year students currently enrolled on the Boulder campus in good academic standing.
  • Award winners must remain enrolled as undergraduate students on the CU Boulder campus in good academic standing for the duration of the award.

*Submission Requirements: *

  • One 3 – 5 page essay, double spaced.
  • Follow the instructions detailed under “The Plagiarism Case” below.
  • The essay should be a clean copy with no extraneous comments, marks, or grades on it.
  • Insert a header that includes the name of the award, your first initial and last name in the upper right corner of each page (e.g. J. Doe, Levitt UG Writing).
  • Insert page numbers (e.g. page 1 of 5) in the lower right corner of each page.
  • Save your essay submission as a PDF titled: YourLastName_Levitt UG Writing
    The Plagiarism Case (essay prompt)
    ◻ You are a student representative sitting on the university’s Undergraduate Ethics
    Committee (UEC) which is reviewing a plagiarism case. Argue your thesis from
    some or all of the facts below, and what you can reasonable infer from them.
    ◻ Your thesis must be one of the following recommendations:
    (a) dismissal from the university for one semester
    (b) an F in the course
    © an F on the paper
    (d) no penalty
    1. Alexandra Romanov is 25 years old, married, with a two-year-old daughter.
    2. She is a senior majoring in Russian history; her GPA is an A-.
    3. She lives with her husband in a one-bedroom apartment in married student housing; the child sleeps in the living room.
    4. She is suffering from “mono” and a slight depression.
    5. She bought a paper from a term paper agency, put her name on it, and handed it in as her own. She has no prior academic misbehavior.

6. She paid $150.00 for the paper.
7. She was told about the term paper agency from a girlfriend of hers who had bought a number of papers and never got caught.
8. She purchased the paper in the dark, cold days of February, at a time when she was carrying five classes, had five papers due, and her daughter had been ill with the flu.
9. She does not like this class and finds the assignments mindless.
10. She dislikes her professor.
11. Her husband, Philip Mandrake, is a mason, who is subject to seasonal work and, therefore, has only a modest income.
12. Phil never went to college.
13. He likes his six-pack of beer and a joint as he watches TV every evening and weekend.
14. He resents the time Alexandra spends at school and on her papers.
15. He and Alexandra have not been getting along; they argue about money and childcare (he wants her home looking after the child), and about each feeling unappreciated by the other.
16. He wants to buy a pickup truck; she wants to rent a comfortable house.
17. He comes from a wealthy family who regards him as feckless and, therefore, refuses to give him any money. Alexandra, whose family is poor, is resentful about his family’s tightness.
18. He loves his daughter and won’t let his family see her because his family won’t help him.
19. He reads to his daughter at bedtime and takes her to the park.
20. He does the dishes but doesn’t cook or clean or shop.
21. Alexandra’s teacher—the one who discovered the plagiarism—is personally inflexible and known for his adamant positions. He sees the world in absolute terms; things are either right or wrong. His name is Professor Stone.
22. Prof. Stone had distributed on the first day of class a sheet warning against plagiarism and outlining the action he would take if he discovered plagiarism. The sheet stated clearly that he would seek dismissal from the university, which is the maximum penalty.
23. Prof. Stone is not a good writer himself.
24. Prof. Stone regards himself as a first-rate teacher.
25. Prof. Stone is a hard grader.
26. Prof. Stone prides himself on failing students.
27. Prof. Stone regards plagiarism as a personal slight.
28. Prof. Stone does not get along with his twenty-two-year-old daughter.
29. Prof Stone is a gourmet cook.
30. Prof. Stone thinks the University Ethics Committee is entirely too lax in assessing student penalties.
31. The University Ethics Committee (UEC), which you serve on as a student representative, has had more cases referred to it from Prof. Stone than from any other professor.
32. The UEC has been given the following charge: ’’Fill the seats of judgment with just people, but not so absolute in justice as to forget what human frailty is."
33. The UEC has been under attack not only by Prof. Stone, but also by the university community for being too “soft.”
34. The UEC recently had before it a plagiarism case in which a graduating senior—a son of a Regent—was found to have bought a paper and passed it off as his own. The penalty was an F on the paper, which the president of the university subsequently quashed, giving the student a clean slate.
35. The UEC is comprised of seven members: six faculty and one student. The faculty mix is four men and two women. The men are all full professors; the women are assistant professors. The student-you-is an honors student.

Schools, Colleges, Departments
College of Arts & Sciences
Supplemental Questions
  1. Submit a 3 - 5 page argumentative essay based on the prompt in the description.