“[T]he consequences of plagiarism are determined by who you are more than anything else.”

Back in the day, Southern Illinois University’s president Glenn Poshard was found to have plagiarized in sections of both his master’s and his PhD. He shed public tears, and the internal group of hacks assigned to exonerate him promptly did so. An SIU emerita professor summed it all up succinctly: I quote her in my headline.

Those wondering about the fate of Hobart and William Smith president Gregory Vincent can take heart. Tears will be shed, and we will be assured by an internal committee that innocent mistakes were made. There’s plenty of precedent for this. This is how it’s done.

“SIU doesn’t have the greatest track record of hiring women in the political science department. There’s been only one tenured female professor since 1961.”

Can this be true?

UD has ridiculed Southern Illinois University on this blog for years. Put “Poshard” in my search engine for scads of posts about the place. But she had no idea it got as bad as this…


Well, here’s the faculty page. All boys! ‘cept fer one girl that the dean done dumped. Laura Hatcher is suing.

I must say. It takes a special commitment to femicide to sustain absolute gender purity for over half a century. I trust the department has taken advantage of this distinction to forge relationships with its brother institutions in Saudi Arabia.


UD thanks Wendy.

Amid our many grand universities here in the U S of A…

… there are quite a few Wee Ones.

Wee Ones are teeny weeny provincial pinpricks on the national collegiate map, places run by teeny weeny provincial people all of whom have pretty much exactly the same religious beliefs and cultural backgrounds.

You do not have to be in the literal provinces to be a Wee One; indeed, the biggest Wee One in America (if that’s not a contradiction in terms) is Yeshiva University, located in the dynamic midst of our most dynamic metropolis. Forcing ground of Bernard Madoff and Ezra Merkin, Yeshiva has attained its signature WO mix of academic go-nowhere-ism, financial corruption, and (the true distinguishing mark of the fully-evolved WO) religious self-righteousness, because its all-male, all-buddy board of trustees has difficulty grasping the meaning of the term conflict of interest.

To be sure, some Wee Ones, like President-for-Life Glenn Poshard’s Southern Illinois University, are located (right, check the name) in the provinces. Some WOs lack the moral superiority religious institutions bring to their misdeeds. But all Wee Ones share – now or in the recent past – conflicted boards of trustees; and many, of course, add to this mix a willingly conflicted university president.

If you review this blog’s Conflict of Interest category for the Wee Ones hit parade, you’ll find New York’s St John’s University right at the front of the fun.

Now, provincial typically means convoluted, so you’re going to have to put on your thinking cap to follow all of the insider connections in the latest St John’s (a Catholic school whose president is a priest) scandal. For instance, a certain Wile, chief of staff to President Father Donald Harrington, got a loan from the Chair of the BOT…

Wile used the loan from the former Chair [of the BOT] to help fund a real-estate venture with university president Father Donald Harrington, his boss. Neither loan was disclosed to the board of trustees at the time they were made.

Oh, with Father Harrington! Okay, and you and Harrington and I guess the former Chair decided not to tell the rest of the guys on the board about it. Okay.

Wile went on to be not only Harrington’s chief of staff, but vice-president for institutional development (given his remarkable money smarts, which landed him in a position where he needed massive loans and got them unethically). And… I dunno.. there’s more… but ol’ UD is running out of steam on this one…

“Morales had no comment.” LOL

The school UD has for years and years called The Worst University in America is at it again.

The student editorial staff of the University of Georgia’s The Red & Black newspaper walked out Wednesday evening after a non-student was named editorial director with final say on all editorial content.

The Red & Black’s student editor-in-chief, Polina Marinova, along with other top student editors and staff members, walked out after Ed Morales, who had been the paper’s editorial adviser and then became editorial director, was given full editorial control of the newspaper.

“The students have lost control of the paper, and a student newspaper is supposed to be run by students,” Amanda Jones, design editor for The Red & Black, said in a phone interview. “We’re losing power while they are hiring permanent employees that are not students. We are losing control. At this point, every single top staffer walked out.”

In a post on RedandDead, a blog set up by Marinova, she said, “Recently, editors have felt pressure to assign stories they didn’t agree with, take ‘grip and grin’ photos and compromise the design of the paper.”

Morales “had no comment,” and why should he? Why should he talk to the press? Why should he talk to anyone? Have you ever heard of an editorial director, under crisis conditions, who would condescend to talk to anyone about it? No, no, no – grip and grin and bear it, kids! You decided to attend the worst university in America! What did you expect?

Did you expect better than this from a draft memo written by one of the new overseers of the newspaper?

In a draft outlining the “expectations of editorial director at The Red & Black,” a member of The Red & Black’s Board of Directors stated the newspaper needs a balance of good and bad. Under “Bad,” it says, “Content that catches people or organizations doing bad things. I guess this is ‘journalism.’ If in question, have more GOOD than BAD.

You see the capital letters? You didn’t expect capital letters? You accepted Georgia’s offer of admission! I told you not to.

Scroll down for more of the draft memo. Note the combination of haughty condescension and borderline IQ.


You know what your core problem is? The thing that’s going to keep the place a post-tailgate shithole?

Your president. Michael Adams makes Glenn Poshard look like Simone Weil.


UD thanks David.


The more of the draft memo you read, the more obvious the institutional dementia of the University of Georgia becomes. The place has really gone mad.

UD’s blogpal, Jim Sleeper, asks the question…

…that has to be asked, these days, when anyone even slightly high-profile plagiarizes:

Might [Fareed] Zakaria … have fobbed off the drafting of his ill-fated Time article to an assistant or intern … and given the draft his glancing approval before letting it run under his byline in Time?


There are, of course, varieties of plagiaristic experience (as William James might put it). UD has simplified the matter for you with her tripartite A scheme. There’s:




Jim’s assuming Zakaria’s is the atelier method, a variety made famous by busy Harvard law professors who, to use Jim’s word, appear to fob off much of the writing of their books to student assistants. Other busy Harvard people (Doris Kearns Goodwin) also seem to have gotten to P in this way. You get there not out of ambition (see #2). On the contrary, all of your ambitions have already been realized. Rather, you get there out of grandiosity. Having more than achieved your ambitions, you decide you’re too important to do your own work. Atelier is très pomo, being all about one’s transubstantiation into a simulacrum.

2., Ambition
, is when you’re still young and struggling to be grand. This is Jayson Blair, Jonah Lehrer, Johann Hari, Stephen Glass, Glenn Poshard, Baron von und zu and unter von Googleberg or whatever his name is (put these names in my search engine for details). This is all those eager young German, Romanian, Czech, etc. PhD students panting toward political careers and totally not interested in actually writing something. This is saying yes to every project and assignment that comes your way, and therefore making it impossible to do everything.

Bringing up the rear is Addicted, in which, having been caught plagiarizing, you explain that you do it because you’re a drug or alcohol addict. Addicted is a tricky one, because successful plagiarism takes a steady hand and mucho planning. It’s not the sort of thing you can do staggering down the street. James Frey, Q.R. Markham (again use the search engine), and plenty of others blame their stealing on a deep-seated insecurity which drives them to drink and then the drink clouds their judgment yada yada.


One other thing to keep in mind about plagiarism is the More Principle. There’s always more. Once the guy (Doris alone holds the banner aloft for the girls) is found out, anyone who wants to discover more of his plagiarized work only has to look.

Whether it’s Southern Illinois University’s…

President-for-Life (scroll down), Penn State’s God-for-Life-and-Afterlife, or any number of the world’s tinpot Dictators-for-Life, daily existence always eventually devolves into farce under the Beloved Leader.

Quickly, it became clear that Mr. Paterno … had failed to go to the authorities or even to confront Mr. Sandusky after he had been told in person of the episode. The prospect that Mr. Paterno, a revered figure, might be fired by the board of trustees was suddenly real.

Mr. Paterno quickly issued a statement saying, in effect, that the board need not act, that he would resign at the end of the season. Neither he nor the university revealed that he had effectively agreed to do so already, in return for an expensive financial package.

The board fired him anyway, a decision that caused rioting and led to an angry and often very personal backlash against the trustees, but it agreed to honor his contract. It was then that the full board came to find out what the university was obligated to pay Mr. Paterno.

You see all the familiar elements. The pathetic ignorant violent mob (“During a conference call, one board member worried aloud that failure to make good on what was owed to the Paterno estate could lead to another “reign of terror” by Mr. Paterno’s supporters …”); the pathetic, useless, out of it, trustees; the snarling Leader and his snarling family, brandishing lawsuits and demanding entitlements and pots of cash.

Think of the on-field violence of football as the ceremonial violence of this country’s Happy Valleys; behind the headbutts and quarterback sacks lie boosters, coaches, and fans ready to riot and issue fatwas.

La vie est une farce à mener par tous said Rimbaud. Take a comfy seat. This particular farce has only just begun.

Sure, you’re keeping an eye on the University of Virginia trustees today…

but don’t forget the even more scandalous Southern Illinois University group, presided over by pitiable president-for-life Glenn Poshard. (Put his name in my search engine for years of background.) U Va’s misery will probably end today; SIU’s trustees are the gift that keeps on giving.

You can sense this student journalist trying to grapple with the Beckettian absurdity of her school’s inept president and non-functional trustees as everyone fights with everyone – in public. “It’s just plain bullshit, and he knows it. He is only trying to deflect the truth of what’s going on at that university.” That’s the recent chair of the board talking about the president of the university.

Read the whole article if you want to get the particular piquancy that is the SIU leadership at work: A combination of emotional immaturity, political hackery, and organizational cluelessness.

“We are hopeless.”

A Romanian commenter succumbs to despair in response to an article in which the prime minister of the country is outed as a plagiarist.

Prime Minister Victor Ponta has been accused of copying large sections of his 2003 PhD thesis in law … more than half of Ponta’s 432-page, Romanian-language thesis on the functioning of the International Criminal Court consists of duplicated text. Moreover, the thesis was republished with very minor amendments as a Romanian-language book in 2004, and also forms the basis of a 2010 book on liability in international humanitarian law. A former PhD student of Ponta’s, Daniela Coman, is named as co-author of the books. Substantial sections of text in all three publications seem to be identical, or almost so, to material in monographs written in Romanian by law scholars Dumitru Diaconu and Vasile Creţu. They also feature direct Romanian translations of parts of an English-language publication by law scholar Ion Diaconu.

Co-plagiarist? Co-copyist? Co-collator? Co-author doesn’t sound right. My guess is that Ponta, who already had a high-ranking government job when he was, er, producing this thing, did almost nothing. Coman was his Appointed Plagiarist. I mean, I doubt he wanted her to plagiarize. But these things will happen when you deputize people to write your thesis for you.

Coman will take the fall, of course. I mean that’ll be Ponta’s first move – to blame it on her. She’s a woman and a subordinate and all. He can’t be everywhere. Coman the Barbarian did it. I myself am a fancy schmancy prime minister and above such things.


A word of compassion here, if I may. It’s one thing when the German defense minister (soon to be the plagiarizing star of a major motion picture) plagiarizes his thesis; or when the president of an American university, like pitiable Glenn Poshard, does the same thing. These are people living in strong, free, and comparatively uncorrupt countries. What I mean to say is that it’s disgusting when people plagiarize entire theses under these conditions.

It’s another thing when people emerging from decades of totally corrupt academic and social life plagiarize. It’s still bad, and they should still take a fall when they are found to have done it. But even now – long after they dispatched the Ceauşescus – the Romanians live within a pretty bogus social reality, with plagiarism merely one part of the general fakery. It’s harder to resist plagiarism under these circumstances.

Before Pal Schmitt, there was…

… Glenn Poshard (scroll down here for UD‘s posts about one of the few old-time political hacks running an American university). Before Hungary’s president showed that you can plagiarize your thesis and not have plagiarized your thesis (scroll down), Poshard was already there, doing the same thing and holding on – to this day – to his position as president of Southern Illinois University.

But just as No-Quit Schmitt is under strong pressure to leave his post, so Poshard finds himself under threat. The governor’s office and some high-ranking SIU trustees are trying like hell to get him out (faculty are leaving; fewer and fewer students are applying; Poshard and his cronies are fatally tied to the Blagojevich regime), to the point where Poshard has actually had to try to talk. Which never works out well. “My leadership has been one of a positive nature on this university.” That’s your president speaking, kiddies.

Poshard’s problem is that the current government of the state of Illinois is very embarrassed and seems to be on an anti-corruption kick.

Southern Illinois University, Carbondale: Shabbiest excuse for a university…

… this side of … eh. I’m thinking nothing compares. For sheer vulgarity, sheer classlessness, sheer idiocy, SIUC can’t be beat. UD has watched in disbelief over many years as this campus, with its plagiarizing, political hack leadership, its tanking student body (who would want to go there?), its mindless, grandiose “Saluki Way” sports expenditures, and its empty stadium, just keeps scratching its balls. (Scroll down on this page for earlier posts.)

Yes, the machinery grinds on – coaches still get overpaid, games take place, student and state money is sent down the drain… and President-for-Life Glenn Poshard smiles on, a Brezhnev unaware the USSR has been dismantled…


The athletic director senses that student anger has now morphed into apathy, and it makes him nervous:

“I can live with anger even though it’s not pleasant. I think what is happening now is we’re slipping into a little bit of apathy, and that’s a little more dangerous. Our fan base has kind of turned, my gut tells me, from anger to a little apathy and that’s what concerns me.”

Right now, the school is giving the molto sucky basketball coach

$762,500 per year, and SIUC would have to pay Lowery twice that amount to buy him out of the final two years of his contract.

But no worries: They’re in great shape to make a payout.

[W]hen the losses started coming, attendance straggled. SIUC averaged 3,299 fans in an arena that underwent a $29.9 million renovation two years ago, down from a high of 7,743 in 2006-07. Additionally, [the AD] said season-ticket revenue is down considerably and the scholarship fund has taken a hit.

It’s always particularly loathsome and embarrassing…

… when someone running a secondary school or a university turns out to be a plagiarist. These people spend a lot of time pontificating to their students about honesty, academic integrity and hard work, and when they are found out, it makes their students – and their students’ families – look like dupes.

As Karen Francisco reports in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette:

Gwendolyn Griffith Adell is a member of the Indiana State Board of Education and administrator of a Gary charter school singled out for distinction by Gov. Mitch Daniels. She also stands accused of plagiarizing her doctoral dissertation.

Purdue University officials have confirmed they are reviewing the allegations.

Adell’s response so far is the classic I’ve just been hit with this response: Bullshit! I’m getting me a lawyer!

Once she calms down and realizes she’s been caught, she will probably go through many of the same stages most people – from the high and mighty German defense minister on down – go through:

She’ll admit there might have been one or two inadvertent lapses on her part.

She’ll ask her university for permission to correct the dissertation. This will be denied.

She’ll say she was busy having five children, running for political office, caring for her sick aunt.

She’ll say there’s a political conspiracy to get rid of her because she’s an outspoken critic of the establishment.

She’ll say her plagiarism occurred long ago and has nothing to do with what a great job she does. Judge her by her current work.

In her resignation speech, she will portray herself as a religious martyr.

Must have figured a president can get away with it.

Glenn Poshard got away with it.

But Yoo Kwang-chan, head of Korea’s Jeonju National University of Education, has gotten caught plagiarizing almost all of a textbook that appeared under his name. The newspaper JoongAng Ilbo reviewed the text and found, for instance, that the entire first chapter, word for word, was taken from another book.

Yoo, by the way, makes his students buy the book.

UD’s Been Following the Idiocy of the Saluki Way for Years.

This, from January 2006, is the first of many posts (type Saluki Way into the search feature) University Diaries has featured on only one of the many benighted aspects of that most-benighted of American university campuses, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale — its ridiculous sports expenditure.

Here’s an update — a letter to the editor of the student paper, from an English professor there.

According to SIU President Glenn Poshard, SIU may probably [may probably is awkward] close in March or lay off large amounts [should be numbers] of people … He is quoted as stating, “This isn’t a panic situation; nobody is panicking here.”

This may be true for SIU’s higher administrators who will certainly not be laid off. But for the majority of faculty and staff in an already depressed economic region, this is a very worrying time. Should the worst happen, Carbondale would probably become a “ghost town” [no need for quotation marks] after losing its chief source of revenue.

In the light of the recent high-salaried appointment of a new chancellor (who may not even have a job to go to in June) despite a supposed hiring freeze, another solution is possible.

What about temporarily transferring the $35 million dollars allocated to the Saluki Way sports project to alleviate this urgent budget crisis?

This project is opposed by the majority of faculty and students on this campus, and in a time of economic recession, sports should be the lowest item on the agenda.

It would be one of a number of necessary efficiencies Trustee Bill Bonan II has urged. Should the economy recover, this project could then go ahead. The issue remains whether sports or education is the main priority on this campus at this particular time.

… Surely the economic well being of people is far more important in a time of economic depression …than an irrelevant sports stadium that has nothing to do with educational quality.

UD’s Confused.

Here you’ve got an article in the Daily Egyptian, the student newspaper at Southern Illinois University, and it’s all about how their school of education is so fantastic that …

The College of Education and Human Services is not part of the national call to significantly change teacher training, university officials say.

According to the New York Times, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a speech Thursday at Columbia University’s Teachers College in New York that all universities needed a revolutionary change in the way they prepare teachers. Duncan said many, if not most, colleges and universities are doing a “mediocre job” of preparing teachers for the realities of the classroom.

Jan Waggoner, director of teacher education, said she believes SIUC’s program is not one that needs changes. Waggoner said the college was cited as one of the top 100 colleges of teacher education programs and works to ensure the students are as prepared as possible for the classrooms.

“I don’t know that we would fall into the mediocre category that (Duncan) is naming or needing for the revolutionary change…”

UD looked at the US News rankings, about which Waggoner’s school indeed boasts in its publicity material, and she finds that Southern Illinois is not ranked at all. It’s listed along with all the other schools surveyed, but given no ranking.

To see a ranked school, look at the University of Illinois – Urbana. They’re ranked 24. See?

The thing SIUC’s education school’s best known for — giving SIUC’s current president a PhD in education even though he plagiarized much of the document — probably didn’t help much in this whole process.

But anyway. Kind of cute to see the campus paper playing along.


UPDATE: This page, on the SIUC school of education website, deepens the pathos.

The director of teacher education tells the school newspaper reporter that the school was “cited as one of the top 100 colleges of teacher education programs.” It wasn’t. Why not?

Last year our Education programs together were ranked in the Top 100. Unfortunately, the data we provide for this year’s ranking was in advertently incomplete and so we could not be included. We have no doubt, however, that if we had been appropriately considered, we would have achieved that lofty (Top 100) ranking again.

So they’re a Top 100 school… in principle… but they can’t appropriately fill out a questionnaire from US News and World Report. Would you want to go there?

Among the many things wrong with plagiarizing…

… is that, once you’ve done it, you lose immense amounts of credibility — not merely in terms of what you write, but in terms of what you say.

If you’re a university president who has plagiarized — plagiarized your dissertation — any public announcements you make, especially announcements having to do with academic integrity, become jokes.

So when, under the pressure of his university system’s clout admissions scandal, Southern Illinois president Glenn Poshard assures a reporter that this “unfortunate incident” should in no way undermine the reputation of Illinois higher education…

His exact words were “I don’t think it creates a problem for higher education as a whole.” …

Well, lawdy. Higher education as a whole at SIU involves not merely drastic declines in the number of admitted students who decide to attend, but also a risible board of trustees, supine in regard to Poshard’s plagiarism and installed by just about the most corrupt politicians America has ever produced. It involves among the most moronic and expensive devotions to sports above academics that UD has encountered in her years of blogging on the subject. It involves constantly revolving administrative doors as one dean after another plagiarizes (after all, you’re at a place where the president himself sets the pace) or does other really stupid shit that gets him canned.

With this gorgeous backdrop, President Poshard ascends the podium and assures us that all is well.

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