Plagiarism claims another victim. When will they ever learn?

There is a fine line between adapting some else’s point of view, and adopting it as your own.

The reality of this cut-and-paste culture of information-sharing, is that many people, especially students, think they could pretend to be original in short 140-character bursts, or longer prose.

I was somewhat shocked to hear that a senator from Montana, John. E. Walsh, was stripped of his Masters’ degree this month, when the college found out he had plagiarized parts of his MA thesis. The paper, titled, “The Case for Democracy as a Long-Term National Strategy,” seems to take off on the so-called ‘Bush Doctrine.”

Going by the New York Times‘ analysis, the senator must have been incredibly lazy, or just plain dumb to have resorted to this kind of plagiarism, even using someone else’s ‘conclusions.’

Which brings to my (blatantly unplagiarized) conclusions:

  • If you’re running for office, or already in office, check your paperwork. Even if your work pre-dated search engines
  • Footnote. Footnote. Footnote. It’s not rocket science to add end-notes, and page notes
  • Finally, if you can’t find something original to say…. (you know the rest)


UPenn Library has a primer on plagiarism, for those unsure. – at Penn Libraries