From: The Chronicle of Higher
Education, March 23, 2004. Available online at:
U. of New Hampshire Disciplines Professor Accused of Plagiarism in
By SCOTT SMALLWOOD
The University of New Hampshire has disciplined a professor for
"scholarly misconduct" after he plagiarized Delaware's governor in a
column published last year in a local newspaper.
The opinion column, written by Marc D. Hiller, an associate professor
of health management at the Durham campus and fervent antismoking
advocate, argued in favor of smoking bans in public places. It was
published in The Union Leader,
a newspaper in Manchester, N.H., on June
Several weeks later, a reader alerted the paper's editors to
similarities between Mr. Hiller's column and a letter written by Ruth
Ann Minner, the Democratic governor of Delaware, during a legislative
debate on smoke-free restaurants.
The university investigated the allegations and released a statement
about the case on Saturday. The document offered little detail about
the investigation, saying simply that a committee had concluded its
work and that its results had been given to Mr. Hiller and the Leader.
When the charge surfaced, in June 2003, Mr. Hiller said he was not
certain how the excerpts from Ms. Minner's letter had ended up in his
column, but he told the newspaper that such advocacy essays should not
be held to the same standards as research papers.
"Letters, editorials, opinion pieces are not claimed to be original
works," he told the Leader.
"I'm sure that probably a vast majority of
letters advocating on issues A, B, or C come from a variety of sources
and are not something claimed to be original work."
Mr. Hiller is now much more contrite. In a statement released on
Saturday by the university, he said he had prepared the column hastily
and had "failed to subject it to my normal standard of scrutiny." He
acknowledged that he had used "substantial portions" of a statement
written by Ms. Minner.
"The failure to cite Governor Minner's authorship resulted from my lack
of care in the preparation of this piece," he wrote. "I am very sorry
for my failure and extend my sincerest apology to Governor Minner."
The university, according to its statement, is taking "further action
with Hiller as it deems appropriate." But university administrators
declined to release any additional information about the case or the
nature of the "further action."
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