Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Rutgers: plagiarism with a sexual twist

Newsday reported on 30 Jan 08:

Rutgers University has cleared three former graduate students of plagiarism and other academic misconduct charges and settled a lawsuit with them.

The agreement may bring to rest a scandal surrounding former anthropology professor William Powers that goes back to the mid-1990s.

One of the students says that when she tried to break of an affair with him, he became abusive. She filed a university complaint against Powers in 1994.

IPBiz notes that, prior to the Powers matter, one had the San Filippo affair in the chemistry department of Rutgers, which had
a bizarre sexual twist in a later "collateral damage" case. The San Filippo affair was more of an embarrassing saga to Rutgers than is the Powers matter, but who now remembers the facts of the San Filippo affair?

Jeff Whealan of the Newark Star-Ledger wrote:

The settlement revives an embarrassing saga for Rutgers regarding the professor, William Powers, who acknowledged an extramarital affair with one of the students and resigned amid sexual harassment allegations.

The university relied on the students' testimony as it sought to oust Powers through high-profile public hearings in 1997. But Rutgers reached a settlement with him the following year before a panel of professors had the chance to render a decision.

Powers, who taught at the university for 24 years, stepped down without admitting any wrongdoing and preserved his pension benefits. Rutgers also paid him $92,000 for pain and suffering as part of the deal to settle a lawsuit he'd filed against the university.

The move left the students feeling betrayed by the university, they said. During the controversy, Powers had accused them of plagiarism, among other charges. The students said their reputation was impugned and sued Rutgers and Powers in 1999.

Today, Rutgers publicly renounced Powers' allegations against the students, Adriana Greci Green, David Oestreicher and Mark Speeney. A statement Rutgers filed in federal court in Newark says the university conducted an extensive investigation and found "no credible evidence" of any academic misconduct or wrongdoing by them.

Prior IPBiz posts on San Filippo:


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