Tuesday, September 09, 2008

On the Biden plagiarism incident at Syracuse Law School

The Buffalo News recounts Arthur M. Cooper's story of the Biden plagiarism incident at Syracuse Law in 1965-->

Cooper was asked to recall the experience he last detailed during Biden’s 1988 presidential campaign. And while Biden’s alleged flirtations with plagiarism emerged as a major controversy back in 1988, Cooper now notes that it seems so tame in comparison with to-day’s political scandals.

“Since then, Gary Hart and Bill Clinton have trumped him for sure,” said Cooper, a retired state workers’ compensation judge.

It began when Cooper and Biden were first-year law students at SU, after Biden married college sweetheart Neilia Hunter of Auburn, now deceased. In a course on legal writing, Biden and Cooper were asked to critique papers they had anonymously swapped.

“In critiquing Joe’s, I found five or six pages out of a law journal without citation,” Cooper said Sunday. “I told Joe about it, but he said he didn’t think there was a problem. I told him I thought I had to bring it up to the professor.”

Cooper, 63, said the university took action, indicating he believed that Biden had to repeat the course.

The violation might have been inadvertent, Cooper says now, but it especially became an issue in 1987 when the aspiring presidential candidate was also accused of lifting passages from British politician Neil Kinnock’s speeches, without attribution, for his own.

“My opinion was that he probably knew what he was doing,” Cooper says now of the SU incident.

IPBiz notes a key point: Biden was told that copying five pages without footnoting was wrong BUT he didn’t think there was a problem. Allison didn't think copying three sentence fragments about history was a problem, but she walked the plank from "Semester at Sea." Anybody who thinks Allison did something wrong has to think a long, long time about voting for Biden.


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