Sunday, April 04, 2010

Manuel Pangilinan offers to resign over plagiarism

Manuel Pangilinan on his copying from others in a graduation speech at Ateneo de Manila University: "I had taken a look at the side-by-side comparison on Facebook, and must admit to this mistake."

Ghostwriting was also involved: He said he had had some help in drafting his remarks, but took full responsibility for them.

He made an offer to resign as chairman of the board of trustees of Ateneo de Manila University but the NYT reported:
He offered to resign from his post as chairman of the Ateneo’s board of trustees, but Father Nebres said the apology was enough.

PinoyGigs has some interesting text on the matter:

Pangilinan wrote Nebres: “I am told further that comments posted on Facebook have started to spill beyond graduation, and are now alluding to my misconduct with respect to Meralco, with former President Erap, and so forth. Under the circumstances, it is best for the Ateneo and myself to shorten the life of this controversy and prevent it from spinning out of control.”

Pangilian also said that “this has been a source of deep personal embarrassment for me,” and informed Nebres that he was retiring from his official duties at the Ateneo, his alma mater. Pangilinan is also a major donor to the Ateneo, with a building named after him and a championship basketball team benefiting from his largesse.

In a response on the Ateneo web site, Nebres said, “We know that this happened without your full awareness, though you take full and sole responsibility. Thus this does not diminish our admiration and respect for your person and for your care and accomplishments for our country and for the Ateneo. In fact, your acceptance of responsibility and apology command our utmost respect.”

Nebres added that he did not agree that Pangilinan needed to resign from his duties as Ateneo trustee. “I believe with many others that what is appropriate is the apology you have given,” Nebres said.

As expected the incident is being hotly debated online, with some praising Pangilinan for owning up to the mistake and offering to resign from his positions in the Ateneo.

But others point out the dilemma Pangilinan has created for one of the most prestigious brand names in Philippine higher education. “I’ve known batchmates in Ateneo who were expelled or forbidden from graduating for plagiarism,” noted Facebook user Michael Aquino. “Ateneo needs to show that it regards plagiarism by patrons/commencement speakers to be just as serious as plagiarism by students. But how can Ateneo do that without giving up donations?

IPBiz notes this as a reprise of what the Harvard Crimson noted years ago. Students who plagiarize are in big trouble. Professors and alums who plagiarize get a walk. And as SIU illustrated, presidents who are alums (and politicians) definitely get a walk, even when plagiarizing in a Ph.D. thesis, supposedly a work of originality. As to graduation speeches, recall the incident at Palo Alto High School.

**Of student newspapers, recall the Duke lacrosse matter:

Condemned by a significant segment of their own faculty and by much of the media, the accused players, writers for the student newspaper and other Duke students showed better judgment than their tenured tormentors and better journalism than The New York Times. If Brodhead, Burness and Alleva [who said: “It’s not about the truth anymore. It’s about the faculty, the special interest groups, the protesters, our reputation, the integrity of the University.” ] cannot be proud of their own performances during the case, they can be proud of many Duke students. But Duke students should not be proud of them nor of the Group of 88.


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