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

Friday, April 22, 2005

The Tribe Transgression: Professor Tribe's Statement of September 26, 2004

Here is Professor Tribe's initial statement on the plagiarism charges against him, which was partially quoted in the initial Harvard Crimson article on the matter (see here), among other articles.

As was the case with Professor Tribe's more recent statement (see here), we are disappointed Professor Tribe did not help facilitate the posting of his statement on the web, even after we e-mailed him and asked for a copy (see here).

Instead, we obtained it from a reader who saw our complaint about the refusal by Professor Tribe and Harvard to even provide us with copies of their official statements, and who e-mailed us a copy. We thank the reader, who wishes to remain anonymous.

Tips and suggestions relating to this blog are always welcome, and are held in the strictest confidence. As our first post mentioned, we have a strict policy of not identifying anyone who writes us without obtaining explicit prior consent, and we also welcome submissions by anonymous e-mail (e.g., through a Yahoo or Hotmail account set up using a name other than one's real name).

Here, then, in Professor Tribe's initial statement:

Statement of Laurence Tribe, September 26, 2004

I have just learned from an article in The Weekly Standard of concerns regarding the attribution of material by Professor Henry Abraham in my 1985 book, God Save This Honorable Court.

Twenty years ago, my book singled out Professor Abraham's work as the "leading political history of Supreme Court appointments," praise it still deserves.

It turns out, however, that my well-meaning effort to write a book accessible to a lay audience through the omission of any footnotes or endnotes -- in contrast to the practice I have always followed in my scholarly writing -- came at an unacceptable cost: my failure to attribute some of the material The Weekly Standard identified.

I personally take full responsibility for that failure.

I have immediately written an apology to Professor Abraham, whom I -- like so many others -- hold in the very highest regard.

Laurence H. Tribe
Carl M. Loeb University Professor
Harvard University
Hauser Hall 420
1575 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138
Office: 617-495-4621

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