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

Thursday, March 31, 2005

More on Harvard Law School parody -- and Tribe e-mail

We have received a very helpful e-mail from a student in Professor Tribe's constitutional law class, supplying us with a copy of Professor Tribe's e-mail to his class which was lampooned in the Harvard parody blog mentioned in our last post, here. It provides useful background for understanding the launch of the "Harvard Parody" blog, which we mention in an update yesterday here (bottom of post on parody).

The e-mail was sent on the evening of March 14, and read:
I'm told the parody, which I had hoped to see with my wife on Saturday evening but had to miss, contained some pretty funny stuff about me. The only thing I've heard that I wish I could comment on but don't feel free to say anything about just yet is the business of my supposedly copying some passages from somebody else's work without sufficiently crediting the original author. Because you ought to care about such things, especially when they involve your own professors, I wouldn't blame you for wanting to know more about the matter. Hopefully, I'll be free to satisfy whatever curiosity you might have about it before the semester ends.
-- Larry Tribe
We find it quite surprising that a public intellectual of Professor Tribe's stature would remain silent for months while journalists and other academics (most notably, Dean Velvel) pressed him for an explanation of how passages from another scholar's book ended up in his own book, but then would break his silence in response to a student-performed parody. Plainly it seems that more parodies on this subject are in order!

Sadly, the student informs us that, to try to deflect attention from this matter Professor Tribe actually joked about the parody in the next day's class session. Tribe apparently said that the reason he had to miss the parody was that he had received a couple of Nobel Prizes over the weekend, and he'd also been hit with a lawsuit by Steven Spielberg claiming  that Tribe's most recent book, "Saving  Private Ryan," somehow infringed on a movie Spielberg had done. The student indicated that these comments struck most students as odd, even pathetic, especially when combined with Tribe's e-mail indicating that he was unwilling to explain in simple terms exactly how parts of Professor Abraham's book somehow found their way into Tribe's book.

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