Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Tale of Two Plagiarizers: Angela Henderson and John Walsh, Both Victims.

For those of you who do not read the New York Times regularly, there are three articles in today’s edition about a John Walsh’s (Democratic Senator from Montana) plagiarism of his final paper for a Master’s Degree from the United States Army War College. Walsh’s cheating bears an eerie similarity to the plagiarism Angela Henderson engaged in: unattributed and inadequate attribution of sources; according to the Times, “[a]bout a third of his paper consists of material either identical to or extremely similar to passages in other sources . . . and is presented without attribution. Another third is attributed to sources through footnotes, but uses other authors’ exact — or almost exact — language without quotation marks.”

Also similar are the clear academic integrity policies of both UIC and the War College which, according the the Times reads: “Copying a segment of another’s work word for word, then conveniently ‘forgetting’ to include quotation marks, but ‘remembering’ to cite the source, is described as academic fraud in the handbook.”

Both works feature numerous examples of academic fraud, and the responses of the two cheaters to the revelations of their dishonesty are also comparable. For example:
Walsh: “In an interview outside his Capitol Hill office on Tuesday, after he was presented with multiple examples of identical passages from his paper and the Carnegie and Harvard essays, Mr. Walsh said he did not believe he had done anything wrong.”

“ ‘I didn’t do anything intentional here,’ he said, adding that he did not recall using the Carnegie and Harvard sources.”

“Asked directly if he had plagiarized, he responded: ‘I don’t believe I did, no.’ ”

Henderson (through her attorney in the Chicago Tribune): “Michael Leonard, Henderson’s attorney, said Monday the plagiarism allegations stem from Henderson improperly using quotation marks to cite other authors’ works.”

“Henderson cited sources properly, but the dissertation’s use of quotation marks ‘wasn’t perfect,’ Leonard said when reached by phone Monday night.”

“ ‘In other words, to the extent there were unintentional errors in Ms. Henderson’s dissertation, including the lack of quotation marks, she was requested to fix them,’ the suit says.”

Both Henderson and Walsh provide examples of what one plagiarism expert calls “incompetent cheating.” David Callahan said “ ‘There is malevolent cheating and incompetent cheating,’ . . . This is a case of the latter. This is college kid stuff.’ ”

“Linda Trevino, a professor at Penn State’s business school who co-wrote a paper on graduate school plagiarism, said that Mr. Walsh’s initial reaction that he ‘didn’t do anything intentional’ was common among those confronted with questions about improperly using the work of others.”

The Angela Henderson defense is as pathetic as Walsh’s. Through her attorney, she asks us to believe that nearly 90 separate passages lifted verbatim from other sources, with neither a quotation mark nor a single page number reference was not “perfect.” Far more than imperfect, her dishonesty cannot be obscured by glib assertions from her attorney. Almost as pitiful, someone at the end of an advanced course of study claims as her defense that she did not know how to cite sources? Along with her fellow plagiarist, Angela Henderson is nothing more than a garden variety academic cheat. An “incompetent” cheat to be sure.

The Times articles are here:®ion=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well;®ion=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well

1 comment:

  1. Why is Angie's lawyer even talking about her quotation marks or lack of them? Her case isn't about proving that she did or did not plagiarize--that's been clearly demonstrated--her case is about whether Administrators illegally told the press that there was an investigation.
    Below is a link to the Chronicle of Higher Education Forum thread about other plagiarism cases:,164417.0.html