Teachers and scholars consider the unattributed use of someone else’s words and ideas to be a very serious offense, but the public doesn’t seem to mind much, at least when it comes to politics. The incidents of plagiarism and fabrication that forced Joe Biden to quit the 1988 presidential race have drawn little comment since his selection as Barack Obama’s vice presidential running mate…Article link
Plagiarism in Law School
Biden Admits Plagiarism in School But Says It Was Not ‘Malevolent’
By E. J. DIONNE JR., SPECIAL TO THE NEW YORK TIMES
Published: September 18, 1987
Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., fighting to salvage his Presidential campaign, today acknowledged ”a mistake” in his youth, when he plagiarized a law review article for a paper he wrote in his first year at law school.
To buttress his assertions of sincerity and openness, Mr. Biden released a 65-page file, obtained by the Senator from the Syracuse University College of Law, that he said contained all the records of his years there. It disclosed relatively poor grades in college and law school, mixed evaluations from teachers and details of the plagiarism.
The file distributed by the Senator included a law school faculty report, dated Dec. 1, 1965, that concluded that Mr. Biden had ”used five pages from a published law review article without quotation or attribution” and that he ought to be failed in the legal methods course for which he had submitted the 15-page paper.
In a letter defending himself, dated Nov. 30, 1965, Mr. Biden pleaded with the faculty not to dismiss him from the school.
”My intent was not to deceive anyone,” Mr. Biden wrote. ”For if it were, I would not have been so blatant.”
At another point, the young Mr. Biden said that ”if I had intended to cheat, would I have been so stupid?”
Mr. Biden said today, as he did 22 years ago, that he had misunderstood the rules of citation and footnoting.
”I was wrong, but I was not malevolent in any way,” Mr. Biden said. ”I did not intentionally move to mislead anybody. And I didn’t. To this day I didn’t.”