In copying a recipe from a cookbook word for word, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) appears to have violated both Harvard College and Harvard Law School’s strict codes on plagiarism.
Harvard’s Guide to Using Sources’ manual, for example, advises Harvard students that “[w]hen you write papers in college, your work is held to the same standards of citation as the work of professors.” But that raises the question of what happens when faculty members don’t meet the standards that they vote in for students.
Indeed, the manual defines plagiarism as “passing off a source’s information, ideas, or words as your own by omitting to cite them.” It does not draw a distinction between work submitted academically or elsewhere.
The policy for the Law School is stricter still.
“The issue [of plagiarism] is essentially one of academic and intellectual honesty…All work submitted by a student for any academic or nonacademic exercise is expected to be the student’s own work.” [Emphasis mine]
The typical punishment is a two-semester suspension from Harvard College, according to The Crimson in 2005.
A typical punishment from Harvard Law School is even more severe, as the Law School makes clear with three examples:
In one case, a student who had plagiarized through paraphrasing the ideas of another throughout most of his seminar paper was suspended for one semester. The student argued that the standards applied to acknowledging sources in this country were far more stringent than those applied in his own country, and therefore his plagiarism was accidental. Although his argument may have been factually true, the Administrative Board found that he had in fact plagiarized and that this could not and would not be tolerated. At the time of his suspension the student was completing the Spring semester of his LL.M. degree. He received no credit for the entire semester. Under the terms of his suspension, this student had to re-apply to the LL.M. Program in order to regain admission. His readmission was denied.
In a second case, a student submitted a short paper that consisted entirely of material taken from a published article by another author. The material was not placed in quotation marks, nor was the article cited. Although the paper was one of several short, ungraded papers submitted in that course, the student received no credit for the course and was suspended for a semester.
In a third case, the student had graduated with his LL.M. degree. In time, it was brought to the attention of his former supervisor that his LL.M. Paper had been plagiarized. Ultimately, the student’s degree was rescinded.
In still another case–that of Megon Walker–Walker, a 2009 graduate of HLS, contended that the draft of an article she submitted for Harvard’s Journal of Law and Technology (JOLT). Unfortunately, Walker’s computer malfunctioned and she lost both the citations and much of her draft. She submitted the manuscript with, according to her, the promise that she be allowed to recreate the article, an account which the editors of JOLT disputed at the law school hearing. Ms. Walker is currently suing Harvard to shut them up about talking about her plagiarism case.
Warren’s Pow Wow Chow plagiarism came long before her arrival at Harvard. Nonetheless, the question remains: will Warren face a punishment as harsh as those meted out for students for her obvious case of plagiarism? It’s unlikely. Obama mentors and advisers, Professors Larry Tribe and Charles Ogletree (who also advised Michelle Obama) both survived what were open and shut cases of plagiarism.
Ogletree, who came under fire for his sloppy research skills in All Deliberate Speed, blamed two of his research assistants for faulty research skills, while Tribe, coming to Ogletree’s defense, quickly found himself accused of plagiarism in his God Save This Honorable Court. Still another plagiarist was Doris Kearns Goodwin, who has been a persistent booster of Obama during the campaign and into his presidency and who once served on the Harvard Board of Overseers.
Perhaps the most famous alleged plagiarist at Harvard is none other than Barack Obama, who apparently plagiarized from fellow Harvard Law School alum, Deval Patrick.
We have long known that politicians, Warren, and Obama, will say anything. Now we know that they don’t even bother to say it in their own words.
Elizabeth Warren was once asked how she paid for school. Referring to Brown’s nude modeling, she sneeringly said she did it by keeping her clothes on. But when it comes to the truth of her fraudulent behavior, the truth is coming out, naked for the world to see.