SIU president disputes allegations he plagiarized dissertation

Updated 8/30/2007 8:47 AM

Southern Illinois University President Glenn Poshard _ a former congressman _ said he didn't plagiarize his doctoral dissertation, disputing claims he lifted sections from original works without attribution for his 1984 paper, according to a published report.

SIU's student newspaper The Daily Egyptian analyzed Poshard's 111-page doctoral dissertation, obtained from an anonymous source, and reported that it found at least 30 sections that were either not attributed to their original sources or not put in quotation marks to show they weren't Poshard's writing.


Poshard, a one-time Democratic candidate for governor, said he might have mistakenly left out some citations in the dissertation but he didn't plagiarize.

"I could have made a mistake," Poshard said in a story posted on the newspaper's Web site Thursday. "I'm not saying I didn't."

The university's board of trustees was to meet with Poshard Thursday to discuss the allegations, according to Samuel Goldman, a member of board.

Poshard did not immediately return a telephone call Thursday morning from The Associated Press.

The newspaper reported that it found 14 sections of the dissertation have verbatim texts from other sources without a citation and 16 sections have verbatim text with a citation but without quotation marks.

The dissertation was written in 1984 for Poshard's doctoral degree in administration of higher education for SIU.

"This is not an excuse, and I would never offer it up as an excuse but at that point in my life, I had a family," Poshard said. "I worked two jobs. I was running for the Illinois State Senate. I was trying to get my dissertation finished."

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Poshard said his dissertation committee at SIU approved his method of citing that allowed him to use long sections without quotations.

"No one on my committee said that when you reference and cite something correctly that you have to go up and put quotes around it," he told the newspaper.

Allegations of staff and administrators plagiarizing are not new to the 35,000-student campus.

The university's former chancellor Walter Wendler was ousted last year amid allegations that he lifted sections from a strategic plan for a Texas school where he worked and then used them in SIU's long-range plan.

In 2004 staff members formed Alumni and Faculty Against Corruption at SIU, in the wake of the firing of a professor who reportedly plagiarized his two-page teaching statement.

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