Friday, June 04, 2004


Once again, I wonder how I'm supposed to convince my students that cheating and plagiarism is to be avoided when they can read about things like this:
Stung by the revelation that the chairman of the Orange County school board, Keith Cook, plagiarism the high school graduation speech he recently gave at the University of North Carolina's Smith Center, the university has decided to scrutinize more closely the events for which it makes its gym available.

An alert parent, for whom Cook's speech stirred vague memories, hit the internet after the ceremony and found that the same speech had been given a few years earlier by Donna Shalala, former secretary of health and human services.

Responses from Mr. Cook and his allies on the school board only deepened the dismay on the part of UNC officials: confronted with the plagiarism, Mr. Cook first said he had written the speech; he then said that he had downloaded the speech from a site he'd found by typing "graduation speeches" into Google. In any case, said Cook, he thought it was okay to take the speech as his own, because it looked like "a generic speech."

A fellow school board member said: "I'm sure he didn't mean any harm. He had his reasons, and he's the only one who knows why he chose that particular speech."

UPDATE: Cartoon on the event and its aftermath here.

UPDATE II: Here's a rather inventive response to charges of plagiarism.

UPDATE III: Much more here (many of the comments are worth reading).

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