Archive for June 14th, 2005

Sounding a lot like former Boston University Dean H. Joachim Maître as he denied his obvious plagiarism of a commencement speech in 1991, Dean Bryan LeBeau posts a denial/appology on the History News Network.

But wait there’s more (and in cases like this unfortunately there usually is). An alert reader of Eric Muller’s IsThatLegal.org notices that the small part of the LeBeau speech claimed to be original was lifted from a 1995 speech by Russell Baker in 1995. Baker then LeBeau then West.
LeBeau’s favorite source seems to be Humanity.org and in particular the commencement speech archive there.

Will Bryan LeBeau join the other famous historian plagiarists?

Will he like Joachim Maître claim:

“The definition of plagiarism in the academy as applying to faculty members is directed toward scholarly research, research papers and the like,” Maitre said. “I gave a talk, not even a formal speech, on the occasion of commencement . . . as the dean of the College of Communication, an administrative officer, not a faculty member. The plagiarism definition does not cover any such thing.”

Stay tuned for more.

In the meantime, St Louis Today (St Louis Post-Dispatch) covers the evolving story this way:
“UMKC Reviewing Allegations of Plagiarism Against Professor”
The Kansas City Star reports on LeBeau’s appology/denial in an AP story as:
“UMKC dean admits mistake in not attributing comments in speech”

Thanks to Barbara Semonche of the Park Library for reminding me of Maître.

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The Bryan Lebeau/Cornel West plagiarism story uncovered by Sally Greene and expounded on by Eric Muller has moved from the Chronicle of Higher Education to the Kansas City Star and the St Louis Post-Dispatch.
A lot of hair-splitting about whether copying a speech (and whitening it up with some really bad writing and bad thinking in the process) is worse that copying say parts of a book. But then the speech in both cases was published and distributed. Sounds like a big problem to me.
Even bigger problems arise in the appropriation of West’s work made during the rewrites by Lebeau as Sally points out.

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