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

Sunday, April 03, 2005

The return of the fake blog "by" Professor Tribe

Last November, we did a bit of detective work into a fake blog purporting to be "by" Professor Tribe which for at least a short while was active at thebigmahatma.blogspot.com. See
here. For a related post, see here.

As Amber Taylor was the first to report, and as we also learned via an anonymous e-mail apparently sent by the blogger behind the fake blog in an effort to get attention, the blog, entitled "The Big Mahatma," is back. See here.

Most of the blog seems devoted not to the plagiarism story involving Professor Tribe, but to highlighting a somewhat embarrassing home page he apparently once had on his family's website some years ago, with most of the material in the blog playing off Professor Tribe's tendency (at least on that home page) to chat unselfconsciously about himself and his personal interests with little if any heed to who might read it, and how it might strike others.

Some of the links tend to suggest that some of Professor Tribe's statements on his own home page were insincere or inaccurate. Some of the links are very negative, actually quite offensive.

It is frankly unclear to us whether the references to Judge Alex Kozinski are intended to portray him in a positive light, as "cool" and "hip," in implied contrast to Professor Tribe, or whether they are part of an effort to paint both him and Professor Tribe as equally kooky. We are a bit surprised that such a respected judge would disclose such personal details on the Internet, although we have to admit that the more we looked at the personal information on him, the more we liked what we saw.

"The Big Mahatma" blog may simply be a one-shot April Fool's joke of some sort, as it was posted on April 1, and it has a quote suggesting Professor Tribe is a "Fool." (If so, then it seems what was posted in November may have been a draft which was inadvertently left online and was never meant to be seen, which would explain why there apparently was no effort to publicize it.) If there are further posts we will cover them, at least to the extent they bear on the plagiarism story.

We will also try to contact the "mysterious stranger" behind the blog (to use Amber Taylor's term, although we suspect the stranger isn't totally mysterious to Ms. Taylor, although we also doubt she herself is the blogger) in an effort to obtain some better idea of who is doing it, and why.

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