Saturday, October 24, 2009

Only in New Jersey?

In responding to a questionnaire from the Vernon (New Jersey) Taxpayers Association sent to candidates for the Vernon Town Council, candidate Harry Shortway apparently copied some of his answers from other sources.

The Advertiser-News reported:

[Shortway] said that his time was tight and while researching the topics brought up in the questionnaire, he did in fact use information from other sources but not in an effort to present it as his own words.

In a response that would make Southern Illinois University proud, the Taxypayers Association noted: “to be honest, we didn’t have any rules againsgt plagiarizing...the only rules we had were to answer by such and such a date.”

A letter to the Advertiser-News by one Neil Desmond which prompted this story includes the text:

What is amazing is, evidence I have seen suggests Mr. Shortway, a teacher in the Jefferson Township High School, plagiarized his responses from works on Internet Web sites to at least five of the questions, with some of the plagiarized responses verbatim from those sites. In fact, one of his plagiarized responses was verbatim from a work done by a UNC Chapel Hill Master of Public Administration student.

Several years ago, in the context of the plagiarism by Professor Laurence Tribe at the Harvard Law School, students writing in the Harvard Crimson hammered away at the point that Tribe would have been punished a lot more if he had been a student, rather than a professor. If a student of Harry Shortway had been caught copying, and responded that "time was tight", one wonders what result?


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