Harvard Plagiarism Archive

"[T]he problem of writers . . . passing off the work of others as their own . . . [is] a phenomenon of some significance."
PROFESSOR LAURENCE TRIBE, e-mail to Dean Lawrence Velvel, 9/13/2004

"'I . . . delegated too much responsibility to others . . .,' [Prof. Charles Ogletree] said. 'I was negligent
in not overseeing more carefully the final product that carries my name.' * * * Ogletree told The Crimson that
he had not read the passage of Balkin’s book that appears in his own work. An assistant inserted the material
into a manuscript . . . . But Ogletree said he was closely involved in most of the drafting of the book . . . ."

STEVEN MARKS, "Ogletree Faces Discipline for Copying Text," The Harvard Crimson, 9/13/2004

"'Ronald Klain . . . then only a first-year student at Harvard law . . . spent most of his time with
Tribe working on Tribe's [1985] book God Save This Honorable Court,'" the Legal Times added in 1993.
* * * 'Many of Klain's friends and former colleagues say that he wrote large sections of the book . . . .'"

JOSEPH BOTTUM, "The Big Mahatma," The Weekly Standard, 10/4/2004

"[A]fter several plagiarism scandals broke over distinguished faculty members at Harvard's law school, including
Laurence Tribe,a group of students there set up a blog, Harvard Plagiarism Archive, to follow the University's
handling of the problem. They believe that the University, President Summers, and Dean Elena Kagan
essentially white-washed the scandal and are demanding further action.

PROF. RALPH LUKER, History News Network's "Cliopatria" blog,4/26/2005

“The Tribe and Ogletree matters have catalyzed bitter complaints from Harvard students that the university
employs a double standard. . . . The students have every right to be incensed over this gross double standard.
They in fact ought to raise hell peacefully about it: a constant barrage of letters, emails, statements . . . .”

DEAN LAWRENCE VELVEL, "Velvel on National Affairs" blog, 4/28/2005

"If you want to keep track of this story, I recommend the new Harvard Plagiarism Archive. . . . [I]t's pretty thorough."
TIMOTHY NOAH, Slate's "Chatterbox" blog,9/28/2004

"[Y]ou have done a wonderful service to all by operating the AuthorSkeptics website . . . a fine public service."
DEAN LAWRENCE VELVEL, author of "Velvel on National Affairs," e-mail to AuthorSkeptics, 4/19/2005

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Professor Tribe -- new Harvard Law Record items

The November 4 issue of the
Harard Law Record carried two items pertaining to the plagiarism story involving Professor Tribe.

1. Letter in support of Professor Tribe. A group of seven of Professor Tribe's current and recent research and teaching assistants published a letter, here, defending him against the plagiarism charges and seeking to put those charges in context.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the letter is this statement: "Professor Tribe provided Professor Abraham with a pre-publication copy inviting comments, and Professor Tribe's book describes Professor Abraham's volume as the leading work in the field."

To our knowledge, Professor Tribe has never publicly claimed that he sent a pre-publication copy to Professor Abraham. The letter writers, who were presumably in grade school when Professor Tribe published the book in 1985, do not explain how they know this. It would appear Professor Tribe provided them with this information, and perhaps other information contained in the letter, and he is at least to some degree using his current and former students as proxies, so as to wage a defense without making any public comments himself.

2. Sarcastic attack on Tribe supporters. The same issue of the law school newspaper includes an anonymous, sarcastic attack, starting here, on two students who signed an earlier letter in The Harvard Crimson in support of Professor Tribe, Michael Fertik and Dan Richenthal. The letter which is being ridiculed in the column is here, and we earlier discussed it here.

In our view, the humor column is correct in ridiculing the effectiveness of the letter designed to support Professor Tribe; in our view, that letter was counterproductive, and it would be both more effective and more honorable for him to address these charges further directly, rather than resorting to the use of proxies, especially proxies who are not his equals, but instead are to some degree dependent upon him for future advancement.

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