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SIU names faculty members to review plagiarism claims against Poshard


Seven senior Southern Illinois University faculty members will investigate allegations of plagiarism against the system’s president, the school’s chancellor announced Friday.

The group will review Glenn Poshard’s master’s thesis and doctoral dissertation and “determine the pervasiveness and significance of any source attribution problems that are found to exist,” the school said.

“The members of this group are among the most respected faculty members on our campus,” Chancellor Fernando Trevino said in a statement. “Each is well known for their integrity, their scholarship and their commitment to the academic reputation of this university.”

The members will meet with Poshard to review his use of literature, data and other materials, said Trevino, who will hear the panel’s recommendations, then forward them to the university’s board of trustees Poshard’s boss.

The procedures follow SIU’s policies regarding allegations of academic dishonesty against former students, officials said. Poshard completed both the 1974 master’s thesis and 1984 dissertation at SIU.

Poshard, a former five-term congressman and one-time Democratic candidate for Illinois governor, has said he would not resign, insisting he may have made mistakenly left out some citations but didn’t plagiarize. Poshard spokesman David Gross has said the flap involves “technical disagreements on how attribution and references were cited in style 30 years ago.”

The Chronicle of Higher Education reported in an article published on its Web site this week that a copy of Poshard’s master’s thesis on drug abuse contained sentences found nearly verbatim in sources published earlier.

Last week, the Carbondale school’s student newspaper, the Daily Egyptian, reported that the doctoral dissertation it obtained from an anonymous source found at least 30 sections either not attributed to their original sources or not put in quotation marks to show they weren’t Poshard’s writing.

The board of trustees affirmed its “full confidence” in Poshard after learning of The Chronicle story. Since taking over as the 35,000-student university system in January of last year, the board said, Poshard “has met and exceeded our every expectation and has this board’s full confidence.”

Three of the school’s key constituency groups the Graduate Council, the collective-bargaining Faculty Association and the faculty senate nominated members to the chancellor for the panel.

Panel members include the president, vice president and secretary of the Faculty Senate, chair and vice chair of the SIUC Graduate Council and a vice president and member of the Faculty Association.

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