• September 30, 2014

Malone U. President Steps Down Amid Plagiarism Accusations

Gary Streit

Malone U.

Gary W. Streit announced his retirement as president, effective immediately.

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close Gary Streit

Malone U.

Gary W. Streit announced his retirement as president, effective immediately.

The president of Malone University, a small liberal-arts institution in Canton, Ohio, announced his resignation on Monday after concerns surfaced that he had used unattributed materials in some of his speeches.

The president, Gary W. Streit, is retiring immediately. Wilbert J. Friesen, the university's provost and vice president for academic affairs, has been appointed to serve as interim president.

Mr. Streit, who is 64, took office as president in July 2007. He could not be reached for comment on Monday.

Before coming to Malone, Mr. Streit was provost, chief academic officer, and vice president for academic affairs at Olivet Nazarene University. He holds a Ph.D. in English education from the University of Illinois.

Because Mr. Streit has retired, there would "really be no point" to an investigation of the plagiarism accusations, said Suzanne Thomas, a spokeswoman for Malone, which is affiliated with the Evangelical Friends Church.

Ms. Thomas said Malone's Board of Trustees had created a plan for how the college would proceed after it accepted Mr. Streit's offer to retire over the weekend.

In a university news release, the board's chairman, Donald M. Harper, praised Mr. Streit's "energy and vitality" and the "outstanding leadership team he forged at Malone."

Mr. Harper declined to comment further on Monday.

Ms. Thomas said concerns about plagiarism became public after students noticed similarities between a chapel address given by Mr. Streit on January 13 and online work written by others.

For example, Mr. Streit began the speech with a description of the Roman figure Janus: "In Roman mythology, Janus was the god of gates, of doors, of beginnings and of endings. His most prominent remnant in modern culture is his namesake, the month of January, which begins each new year. He is most often depicted as having two faces or heads, facing in opposite directions."

The Wikipedia entry for Janus reads: "In Roman mythology, Janus (or Ianus; "archway") was the god of gates, doors, doorways, beginnings and endings. His most prominent remnant in modern culture is his namesake, the month of January, which begins the new year. He is most often depicted as having two faces or heads, facing in opposite directions."

Later in that speech, Mr. Streit used material that is nearly identical to portions of two Associated Press articles and a mythology-influenced Web site called Penumbra.

In a speech Mr. Streit gave while provost at Olivet Nazarene, he described the history of the word “provost” in language that strongly resembles a definition on the University of Iowa’s Web page. Mr. Streit said: “Unfortunately, the original definition of the word ‘provost’ was 'the keeper of the keys of the prison.' The Provost Marshal of the Norman invaders who plundered England in 1066 was infamous for torture and merciless cruelty, and suspected deserters and drunks during the American Revolution were very poorly treated in their respective ‘provost prisons.’”

The University of Iowa page states: “Unfortunately, the original definition of the word ‘provost’ was ‘keeper of a prison.’ The Provost Marshal of the Norman invaders in 1066 was infamous for torture and merciless cruelty.  And suspected deserters and drunks during the American Revolution were very poorly treated in their respective ‘provost prisons.’"

The speech also included lines closely resembling other parts of the University of Iowa’s Web page, as well as a portion of Enotes.com’s summary of the Robert Frost poem “Birches.”

 

Comments

1. procrustes - February 22, 2010 at 04:32 pm

Isn't the "plagiarism" witchhunt getting a bit old? Does every factual statement from a reference source need to be footnoted in every speech? Substantive theft of ideas is one thing, but this is quite another. I hope the other examples actually have some weight. Have we no common sense left in academe?

2. jeff1 - February 22, 2010 at 04:36 pm

Off with his head (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson aka Lewis Caroll, 1965)!

3. sross - February 22, 2010 at 04:38 pm

I think a question has to be how good a job was he doing? I can't believe if he was doing the job needed as president this is enough to fire him. Common sense anyone?

4. kyle43 - February 22, 2010 at 04:40 pm

I hope there is more than this to the plagiarism charge as I have started lectures on Janus with pretty much the same description and it was not from Wikipedia.

5. roxbury86 - February 22, 2010 at 04:41 pm

Sorry to disagree, but using Wikipedia is not usually an acceptable source, so citing it is would be unusual. But it would also be the first place people would look to check! Dumb move, best he move on. Definitely a big no-no for a college president.

6. bphil - February 22, 2010 at 04:41 pm

He should have said, "According to Wikipedia, in Roman mythology..." to avoid charges of plagiarism, which I suspect would have been preferred despite the ridicule he would have endured. It's not a witchhunt if one actually does the thing one is accused of doing and one is caught red-handed doing it. And it is plagiarism.

7. jedidiahlongsnout - February 22, 2010 at 04:43 pm

This piece from Wiki was the least of his concerns. He gave an entire speech that was cut and pasted from the website of the chaplain at Duke University. Common sense, anyone?

8. kyle43 - February 22, 2010 at 04:45 pm

But, that is a fairly common description of Janus. So, if he knew his stuff, I have a hard time saying he took it from Wikipedia. I lectured on G&R mythology back in the 80s before Wikipedia existed and used basically the same introductory description for Janus.

9. mgrandillo - February 22, 2010 at 04:48 pm

Can you say in a speech : "It has been said..."

10. mac_davis - February 22, 2010 at 04:53 pm

If you say "According to Wikipedia" the President is a morally good person and has not broken any social mores. If the President doesn't say "According to Wikipedia", he is a bad person and has broken social mores.

Give me a break. All of the ideas in all of our heads have been pieced together from copies of other people's ideas. Everytime we say "I love you", tell a joke, or tell someone our philosophy of life we don't have to add on that we first heard it from someone else. Telling some students relatively common knowledge about an ancient mythological figure is something that shouldn't need a source. If you are bothered because he used the same words, you are absorbed into trivialities. If he said the same thing using different grammar, syntax, pauses, or words, it would gradually cease to be "plagiarism."

And wouldn't it be an interesting turn of events if it turned out that he had contributed to the writing of that Wikipedia article? By contributing to Wikipedia you virtually renounce authorship. The user does not read an article and sees "oh, so and so wrote this part and who and who wrote this other part." No, they just see the state of an editing process that has had an unknown number of authors doing an unknown amount of work. Wikipedia has an edit logger to track people's contributions so you can ask them to provide a source, or penalize them for vandalism, but the end user generally does not pay attention to this.

11. ancient - February 22, 2010 at 04:58 pm

This is such a generic description that it in no way meets the point of plagiarism. It is a standard notation about Janus that anyone who teaches mythology would say without having to go to any sources. There are only so many ways that a description like this could even be said. This is beyond ridiculous. I suspect that he has resigned out of concern for his school, which is a good institution. I would hope that someone would interject some reason.

12. theopold - February 22, 2010 at 04:59 pm

The example used in the article, while 'plariarism' by the strictest standard, should surely not be grounds for firing a successful University president. However, there are intimations of further, possibly more extensive 'borrowings' and jedidiahlongsnout (# 7) seems to have some inside information here. Most ominously, the assertion that there would "really be no point" in further investigation, coupled with his speedy resignation, makes one wonder if there is more fire behind this smokescreen

13. nlstake - February 22, 2010 at 05:16 pm

Most presidents don't have time to write their own speeches ...

14. bethanypsyd - February 22, 2010 at 05:34 pm

Dr. Streit was an excellent university president, smarter than most, and one "mistake" does not an idiot make. If anyone else has even the smallest idea of the responsibilities of a university president, he/she would understand that something this small does not mean Dr. Streit was a poor president. Aggravating that the article continually referred to him as Mr. Streit when the man has his earned doctorate. How many college professors use lines from the text from which their teaching and don't always spell out, "Your textbook author points on out page 17 ..." Sad day for Malone and Dr. Streit...

15. sbritchky - February 22, 2010 at 05:59 pm

There's nothing new under the sun.

16. dmaratto - February 22, 2010 at 06:43 pm

bethanypsyd, the Chronicle has a conceit where they only call physicians "Dr." It is not intentionally disrespecting this particular guy.

Plagiarism is a funny thing, because sometimes it's OK and sometimes it isn't, with no clear definition of the rules. We tell students that they have to cite anything which isn't their original phrasing or idea, yet how many times has anyone taken off points for a student not citing the source of "George Washington was the first president of the United States"?

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was something of a plagiarist (see http://web.archive.org/web/20080205092412/http://www.stanford.edu/group/King/popular_requests/faq.htm) but we tend to forgive him. Joe Biden is also something of a plagiarist (see http://www.nytimes.com/1987/09/12/us/biden-s-debate-finale-an-echo-from-abroad.html) but we tend not to forgive him.

17. skocpol - February 22, 2010 at 07:13 pm

I knew George Washington, and he's no Joe Biden!

18. mercy_otis_warren - February 22, 2010 at 07:40 pm

Mac Davis is completely right. If you say "According to Wikipedia" the President is a morally good person and has not broken any social mores. If the President doesn't say "According to Wikipedia", he is a bad person and has broken social mores.

Give me a break. All of the ideas in all of our heads have been pieced together from copies of other people's ideas. Everytime we say "I love you", tell a joke, or tell someone our philosophy of life we don't have to add on that we first heard it from someone else. Telling some students relatively common knowledge about an ancient mythological figure is something that shouldn't need a source. If you are bothered because he used the same words, you are absorbed into trivialities. If he said the same thing using different grammar, syntax, pauses, or words, it would gradually cease to be "plagiarism."

That's what I think, anyway.

19. fergbutt - February 22, 2010 at 07:44 pm

I thought the boat had sailed on plagiarism a long time ago when MLK Jr. escaped censure for his largely plagiarized dissertation. Maybe Dr. Streit deserves his own holiday in January.

20. mharford - February 22, 2010 at 08:32 pm

I heard this guy speak and he used words that other people used, like "the" and "education" and did not cite webster or his third grade teacher or anyone else. What are we coming to when this sort of thing goes on and on and on and on and on....

21. roxbury86 - February 22, 2010 at 08:33 pm

mac_davis: Oh please! You write, "Telling some students relatively common knowledge about an ancient mythological figure is something that shouldn't need a source." It's a verbatim lift straight out of Wikipedia, and while it is true that there are only so many ways to say the same thing, this is too obvious! If he had actually written the Wiki entry, wouldn't he have mentioned it? Or was he just a little ashamed at using Wiki as his source? How about asking one of his faculty members for an intro line?

Other colleges have gone through similar situations, with other source material being lifted - sources that people look at often. The president of a college has to set an example for the entire campus community; standards can't be lower for the president than for anyone else. And the Wiki lifting was but one of several.

bethanypsyd: It's pretty common for only scientists to use the "Dr." on a liberal arts campus. He could very well have been a good president, but this does not reflect well on his judgment, at all, and certainly would have compromised his ability to lead.

22. cybertownley - February 22, 2010 at 09:08 pm

I find this conversation interesting. The article is discussing "reusing" someone elses material.

Well, if you look closely enough, they are simply re-hashing another article and quite frankly, I see no attribution here:

http://www.cantonrep.com/stark/x723439502/Malone-president-to-step-down-questions-raised-over-speech

23. amnirov - February 22, 2010 at 09:30 pm

Since when are remarks delivered in a chapel the stuff of plagiarism? This is just stupid.

24. princeton67 - February 22, 2010 at 09:44 pm

Because Mr. Streit has retired, there would "really be no point" to an investigation of the plagiarism accusations, said Suzanne Thomas, a spokeswoman for Malone, which is affiliated with the Evangelical Friends Church.
Once again, a religious institution sidesteps an investigation of hypocrisy. See Ted Haggard, Richard Roberts, Roberts Liardon, Jim Bakker, Bob Jones, Earl Paulk, Michael Guglielmucci, etc. Or the Roman Catholic Church in the USA and in Ireland. The list is endless.
It's not the specific transgression - plagiarism, pederasty, profiteering, gay sex (in their eyes) - but the hypocrisy involved.

25. fafafooey - February 22, 2010 at 09:48 pm

See comments 7 and 12. I suspect there is more that the institution has not disclosed.

26. brainbet - February 22, 2010 at 09:54 pm

The article shows the the President has "borrowed without attribution" a number of texts written by others for his speeches and papers --activities for which he is paid. So it's not as simple as his not mentioning Wikipedia.

How can faculty and administrators warn and punish students for plagiarism after doing the same themselves?

27. cwinton - February 22, 2010 at 09:57 pm

The standards being applied by his accusers are inane to the point of rendering the term plagiarism meaningless. By their reckoning, virtually all of our politicians are plagiarists given that many speeches they deliver are the work of unattributed speech writers.

28. roxbury86 - February 22, 2010 at 10:02 pm

amnirov: This is not the first case of the president of a liberal arts college making remarks on-campus which then are discovered to include material lifted from sources without attribution, and then the president departing.

The president sets the tone on campus: regardless of the forum, what the president does matters. The president should not be allowed to get away with behavior that falls below the standard for everyone else on campus.

29. millert - February 23, 2010 at 05:03 am

Plagiarism has become a major problem on many campuses. Students know that it is unacceptable to use the intellectual property of others unless they cite the source. A percentage of students will disregard the rules. Faculty members use computer programs to determine the extent of plagiarism in their students' papers. One semester I had over 60% of my students submit papers that had major sections plagiarized and a few students lifted their entire paper from one source...word for word. Any time we have a situation such as this, it should be widely publicized.
Some of the previous comments do suggest that the practice of plagiarism is not seen as a major violation. We live in a contemporary society that doesn't value science. We are graduating students with little understanding of science or the methods used. Our citizens and apparently some of our academicians don't understand how science is advanced. It's dangerous to omit the original research citations in disciplines that build on previous research findings. The practice can set back the discovery of life saving treatments...as much as as 20 years.
Violations must be followed by serious consequences.

30. amnirov - February 23, 2010 at 05:37 am

Remarks made on campus do not rise to the level of even a freshman paper. Plagiarism is simply not an issue.

31. roxbury86 - February 23, 2010 at 06:26 am

amnirov: Sorry that you agree with the old saw, "OK for me but not for thee." Even in the context of a chapel talk, this causes everyone to lose respect. A president in that position cannot lead effectively, particularly in tough economic times. Total no-no.

32. lawman11 - February 23, 2010 at 06:39 am

The question is whether his audience expected to hear only his own thoughts. This is the case in scholarly articles. I doubt whether that is the case in regard to what is described in the article in relation to the text about Janus.

33. roxbury86 - February 23, 2010 at 06:58 am

lawman11: Are you kidding? If someone else's thoughts were to be presented, perhaps they would have had that person speak, or invited a known scholar on the topic. You and amnirov are totally mincing words - how far do you want to go with this inane line of "reasoning"?

Honestly, how can such a person lead, when students, faculty and administrators are looking at him differently? For the good of the institution, he's got to go.

34. bphil - February 23, 2010 at 07:29 am

It strikes me as, well, Janus-faced to argue on the one hand that all knowledge is recycled, words and their arrangements are finite, and therefore a few truisms about Janus lifted from Wikipedia are not plagiarism, and on the other hand that these charges are exaggerated because he only plagiarized from Wikipedia in a trite on-campus speech. First, I get the point, and the sooner we all realize that the truly singular thought or observation is either hard to come by or, as is my preference, the stuff of everyday life, the better. Let's put an end to the endless citations and footnotes in our professional writing and just say what we mean and be done with the idea that we can't speak except in someone else's name--and that we have to cite that name every time we write something. On the other hand, let's have the courage to say what we know without lifting articles from Wikipedia nearly word for word.

35. che08 - February 23, 2010 at 09:00 am

Perhaps the question to ask is... If a student had written the same text in a paper, would it have been considered plagiarism? And would s/he have been punished for it?

By the way, I love the name, jedidiahlongsnout (#7).

36. roxbury86 - February 23, 2010 at 09:25 am

cheo8: I'm with you when you write, "If a student had written the same text in a paper, would it have been considered plagiarism?" But when you write, "And would s/he have been punished for it?" I'd have to say that the president - the leader - of a college needs to set an example; students are there to learn in the classroom and from the example of the leaders on campus. The president should be held to at least the same standard - if not a higher one - because a violation surely compromises his or her ability to lead.

37. stalnaker - February 23, 2010 at 09:30 am

A lot of these comments I find strange. It's not the factual content of the speech that's the problem, as a great number the comments seem to indicate. Sure, that material may be common knowledge. The problem is the verbatim lift. If I say "87 years ago, the founders of this nation wrought a government etc.", that's using the same facts. But if I say "Four score and seven years ago, etc." that's plagiarism. It's not a matter of nothing new being under the sun.

38. 22186037 - February 23, 2010 at 10:56 am

Why did they really get rid of Dr. Streit?

39. procrustes - February 23, 2010 at 11:14 am

To say that this is overreaction to unattributed use of Wikipedia for common factual knowledge is not condoning plagiarism. It is asking for a sense of proportion. We have too much mindless zero tolerance in our society (ten-year olds being suspended from school for a year for having a nail file or tylenol). Would it have been better had Dr. Streit attributed the reference? Possibly. I hear too many academic talks that are nothing but strings of quotations already. We are too busy with CYA to have original thoughts. Should the same standards apply to speeches as scholarly articles? How many of the faculty commenting here attribute everything they say in a class lecture properly in real time? If there were more serious problems leading to Dr. Streit's departure, fine (too bad these were not reported by the Chronicle). If the Wikipedia incident vel sim. is what forced him from office and he was otherwise doing a good job as president, it is a stupid waste.

40. resource - February 23, 2010 at 12:17 pm

these comments are about equally balanced between reasonable, analytic thought and stupid and dangerous pronouncements of the academic nazi crowd. Anyone who seriously advocates that a public speaker be severely punished for uttering a phrase that someone else has already uttered is prigish, churlish, unpleasent, narrow minded, and entirely too wrapped up in their own self righteousness.

41. johntoradze - February 23, 2010 at 01:18 pm

This is absolute, spineless, insanity! Does anyone stop to think where Wikipedia got the text on Janus?! Yes, virginia, somebody lifted it from an encyclopedia, probably word for word. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia authored by "some guy".

Dear god. These are minor little speeches. They are not represented to be entirely his own work. Speeches are usually written by speech writers. None of those "speeches" amount to anything. There are speeches that do, and I have news for you - those speeches are not peppered with citations either. For example, I know the Colonel at the Pentagon who wrote McNamara's famous speech "Security in the Contemporary World".

Yes, Virginia, it's true! I hate to burst anyone's bubble of a fantasy world they live in, but no, MacNamara did not write it, he sold it to the public. McNamara approved it and did some editing, but not much. And folks, that's what speeches are. The only time the writer gets cited is in print when the speech is referenced because it is an historical document, or the facts referenced matter. "Security in the Contemporary World" is a major historical document. To cite it, I tracked down who actually wrote it. It wasn't easy.

Citations are very rarely given for speeches unless they are published in print - BY THE SPEAKER - and formally represented as the speaker's work. Then the citations might appear in references. But it is RIDICULOUS to expect someone to write a speech, then search the internet for hits on their text and pepper their speech with citations. To suggest that is how a speech should be delivered is cretinous idiocy. It is more than that. It is sophomoricly contemptible, revealing a breathtaking lack of familiarity with speechmaking and even prose.

You see, one does not write in a manuscript this way:

Poussou S, Sojka P, Plesniak M: Experimental Model of Contaminant Transport by a Moving Wake Inside an Aircraft Cabin. In American Physical Society, 61st Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Fluid Dynamics. 2008 correlates with modeling of wake particles and the behavior of passengers on aircraft.

No. The citation is provided as a reference in a format that does not interfere with the flow of the text. Just so, in a speech the same thing applies. Adding the reference INTO the speech text is stupid. Done in a class, it would deserve an 'F' unless the fact made a difference to the listener.

42. captainawesome - February 23, 2010 at 01:39 pm

As a student at Malone University, let me reassure you that the Wikipeida citation was not the sole incident behind this event. Careful consideration was given in entriety to all evidence that was presented.

Dr. Streit stepped down because he felt it was in the best interest of the university so as not to make this into a devisive and fractional ordeal. Dr. Streit's goal in stepping down was to uphold the values of Malone University as an institution of higher academics.

Please know that the Wikipedia citation is not the only incident and many news outlets should have refrained from printing their articles with limited information on the story.

43. blueconcrete - February 24, 2010 at 11:19 am

I wonder how many commenters here defending Dr. Streit are academics (or work in fields where plagiarism is a common problem)? Seems the Chronicle has seen a lot of trolls lately.

44. notsofast - February 24, 2010 at 11:52 am

Clearly, he made a stupid mistake, and that's undeniable--I hold my students academically accountable for the same mistakes (assuming wikipedia was ever allowed as a source in the first place). But I suspect, like some others here, that there's more to this than just a lifted wikipedia paragraph or AP story.

No offense to Malone students, but does anyone else find it odd that an anonymous group of students noticed that his information on Janus came straight from wikipedia? In #42, a self-claimed student at Malone indicates this isn't the first instance of plagiarism noticed by Streit. This all smacks of something akin to someone looking for plagiarism, and finding it in places here and there. I'm sure that there are astute and attentive students at Malone, but one wonders what spurred them into googling quotes from the President's speeches in (hopes?) efforts to find plagiarism.

I'm curious: does Malone have a strong and powerful faculty structure? How has the faculty gotten along with this President during his tenure? I can't claim knowledge of any sort, of course--only speculation. But I bet behind every anonymous student inquiry group is a group of unhappy faculty members. Who never steal from sources in *their* lectures, of course.

45. johntoradze - February 24, 2010 at 01:07 pm

"As a student at Malone University, let me reassure you that the Wikipeida citation was not the sole incident behind this event."

I get it, loud and clear. Dr. Streit was the object of a witch hunt. That witch hunt was perhaps conducted by a nasty little priggish student or cabal of students playing "gotcha". It might be that "captainawesome" is one of those. It might have been backed by a few faculty using said students for retaliatory purposes. And, it might be that captainawesome and his priggish band of thugs posting here are faculty. The exact makeup can only be guessed at. But a witch hunt it is, no question about that.

For the record, I am one of the most active fighting real academic corruption, plagiarism and fraud. I have advocated congress on Capitol Hill on the subject. Where it matters, such fights should be waged. Chairs and professors approving publications with made-up data; who crush graduate students for making public data that shows a therapy will kill people; professors giving results of a postdoc in their lab to another professor so that his post-doc can fake the same results and publish the paper instead of the one who did it - in order to gain support to get a million dollar grant; THAT matters.

Conducting a witch hunt over academic fluff speeches in order to bring a good person down? That is simply the work of vicious little martinets. You are not good people. You did not do something good. You attacked and brought down someone whom I very much doubt you are fit to polish the shoes of.

Sorry little ones, I won't let you off the hook. If there is more, then lay it all out in detail and make sure that you have him on record claiming that it was his original work. The burden is on you to make YOUR case. Little innuendos like, "Wikipeida[sic] citation was not the sole incident behind this event" and the like do not cut it. Vicious little martinets you are. Intellectual thugs you are, still lurking spineless in the darkness.

You are feeling a little bit dominant now. You are feeling pleased and oh so much bigger than before having brought down the silverback of your troop. Oh, yes. THAT pleasure is at the core of this. Not maturity, not sense of proportion drove you on, no. But the reward system that is activated when a juvenile monkey brings down the dominant one? That you feel.

46. fafafooey - February 24, 2010 at 01:29 pm

johntoradze,

I suspect that if the putative offenses involved here were mere fluff, this person would still be president. That's why I indicated earlier that there must be more to the story than what has been reported. Clearly, you cannot divine the intentions of faculty and students given what little information CHE provided. Nor can you assess the character of the person who committed the reported (and unreported) offenses. At the end of the day, this was--I'm sure--a decision made by trustees and for reasons we will never know.

47. frjackson - February 24, 2010 at 01:45 pm

I am glad that johntoradze brought up the point that this so called plagiarism on Mr. Streit's behalf was clearly "dug up" in response to faculty/student unhappiness with the man.

I am very familiar with this institution and that a group (with captainawesome on board) of students have had it out for the president since his arrival. These students and some faculty thought Streit was bringing too much change and the changes he suggested were said to reflected too closely the qualities his previous employer embodied. God forbid a man introduce things to a school that he has experienced elsewhere at a similar minded school.

The mob said he was straying away from the mission of the founders of the school. Ah, sorry for the newsflash but the school(Malone U.) long ago abandoned to operate under the original mission of the school's founders for the sake of growth and overall academic success, just as many similar schools have. That's not to say Malone is no longer strongly Christian. It has a vibrant Christian population but has also chosen to add other objectives the original mission and this was done long before Streit's arrival.

In my experience a conservative Christian school can't handle two things: change and change. It's as simple as that. Unfortunately the students (with clear faculty support)rid themselves of the man who was doing a good job.

I support the man and know that while, this borrowing of language was a mistake, he didn't do anything that deserved the treatment he got. Quite frankly I don't know if the angry mob of students and faculty realized they would get this far in the matter...

48. brdboy - February 24, 2010 at 05:10 pm

I have known Gary Streit for over 30 years and he is a person of unquestioned integrity. To hold the president of a small university to a standard of citation in a informal speech that we do not expect of the President of the US is ridiculous. To be so desperate for incriminating evidence that they would scour even speeches made at his former university implies that it was hard to discover much evidence for the accusations of wrongdoing.

If the University governance wanted to get rid of him, they could have asked him to leave. Gary would have stepped down as a matter of principle. However,I suspect it was not the trustees, the administration,or the majority of the faculty who did this. People who destroy a person's character hide in the shadows instead of speaking in the open. They accomplished what they wanted. Their president is gone. But what others in their right minds would be interested in taking over the leadership of an institution that treats their leaders in such a way.

Not having an investigation is the wrong thing to do. Malone would be much better served by launching a thorough investigation into the circumstances that brought about this very ugly public lynching.

49. laughin_otter - February 24, 2010 at 06:14 pm

As a society we seem to have a very schizophrenic attitude toward plagiarism. Basically and fundamentally, anyone can agree that it's dishonest. But not everyone agrees what constitutes plagiarism. Colleges and publishing houses all have policies concerning plagiarism. Yet when faced with a living example, half of us plunge our heads into the sand of denial.
I once proofread a manuscript for a publishing house, which was an amateur-scholar treatment of the Knights Templar and their origins. The author had so badly misspelled almost every place name in the ancient Mediterranean world that I was constantly resorting to my own library for the correct spellings. In the process, I suddenly realized that I had just read almost an entire page that had been lifted verbatim from a very well-known writer on ancient Greek and Roman myths. I called it to the attention of my editor, who quickly took the manuscript back, and I never got another job from them. My sense was that they simply didn't know how to handle it.
As a college English instructor, I've found that plagiarism is becoming so commonplace that students see nothing wrong with it. Other instructors, whose job is not to teach English, seem to accept the professional-quality writing as the student's own, and at least one "learning center staffer" I know personally challenged me openly on a student's plagiarized paper, even though I had googled, highlighted, and annotated every lifted sentence.
But the biggest concern re plagiarism is that it reveals a person who is apparently incapable of expressing him- or herself articulately and thus relies on lifted material. There was no need to quote the passage about Janus verbatim! There are many other ways to say the same thing, in one's own words!
This is, after all, why we harp on plagiarism in student writing. We want students to learn to express their thoughts, not someone else's. We also want to know that they are processing the concepts, ideas, principles, in their own unique way, confronting ideas, working with them, evaluating them--not just regurgitating them.
Students can well understand plagiarism when the instructor couches the caution in terms of "identity theft." It's intellectual theft, and students who are preparing for a professional career need to have that point reinforced.
As for the university president--he was old enough to know better, for sure! Besides, the world should be able to look to someone like that for insight if not profundity, and parroting a passage out of Wikipedia (of all things) is far from it!

50. intelligentfool - February 24, 2010 at 06:39 pm

Sounds like a witch hunt to me.

Wait, those words have been said before or written somewhere else...my bad, don't sue me for plagairism...

51. gardnerpunch - February 24, 2010 at 08:38 pm

The wikipedia citation is a borderline case, no doubt.

And it is a shame that a complete and full-disclosure of the extent of Streit's plagiarism hasn't been made public yet. It may never be. But a full and complete investigation has been conducted by Malone's Board, and that is precisely the reason he is no longer President of the university.

This isn't about an idea here or a sentence there--this is about page after page after page, verbatim, in multiple speeches, from multiple sources, much of which was originally written in the first person (lifting other people's experiences and emotions). It is open and shut by just about any measure.

52. frjackson - February 24, 2010 at 08:43 pm

Brdboy,

I don't think the "university governance" (the Board) wanted him to step down. They were forced into an investigation as a result of a select group of head hunters, some students and some faculty. The Board were merely following up on the allegations.

53. enadler - February 25, 2010 at 10:54 am

Just to set the record straight on the origin of the word 'provost', its origin is prior to the 12th century and referred at that time to the leader of a cathedral chapter and college (the early university). Interestingly, most of the titles used for our university administrators derive from early church titles and functions. This is because most of our early "universities" were church-affiliated (the University of Paris is an early example). In many institutions, students even were required to have a minor clerical order.
Elsa Nadler, University of Toledo

54. chroniclereader007 - February 25, 2010 at 09:53 pm

Reply to ... Aggravating that the article continually referred to him as Mr. Streit when the man has his earned doctorate

The paper's style must be to use the "Mr" because most use last name only. A doctorate is not really a "Dr" in media. It's a PhD .. DR is for M.D.

I don't condone cheating and plagiarism is cheating to me, and a university president should be above that. But I also agree with the comments about attributing everything we say. I'm not the first to coin the phrase "I don't condone" so who do I attribute it to? When we use cliches every day - like "I'm up a creek without a paddle" - who do we attribute it to?



55. mckenzieblack - February 25, 2010 at 10:24 pm

I am not associated with Malone University but live in the Canton area. What I have observed over the past three years, while Dr. Streit has been apart of our community , is the amazing growth and success he has brought to Malone. I am well educated and have written several papers and given many speeches. I have NEVER heard that you need reference what you state in your speech unless it is going to be printed and published to share with others. This sounds like some VERY petty people who dislike change and wanted to get Dr. Streit out of the picture. It they were more educated they would realize how pathetic this attempt really is. Dr. Streit has been in higher education for almost 40 years and I would trust his judgment. He appears to be a humble, honest and trustworthy man. It astonishes me that a University built on Christian principles would treat someone like this.

56. gardnerpunch - February 26, 2010 at 04:28 pm

mckenzieblack,

It astonishes me that someone would make such damning claims about a university based on an article that so obviously gives you a minimalist account of what actually happened. Sure, the wikipedia stuff alone might seem petty. But when the PR person at the school says "Let's not investigate this anymore, shall we?," clearly you aren't being given all of the information. Presidents with long, distinguished careers in higher education don't "retire" because they have been caught plagiarizing one paragraph from wikipedia. And Boards of Trust don't unanimously accept the offer of those presidents to "retire" in the middle of February when the only evidence available is one measly paragraph from wikipedia.

It is obvious that you know next to nothing about Malone, Gary Streit, speeches given in an academic environment, or how to read-between-the-lines.

57. university_observer - February 27, 2010 at 12:30 am

gardnerpunch,

I'm a Malone alum and university faculty member at another institution.

You sound like a Malone faculty member. The character of that faculty is not what it once was.

While this wasn't a first time occurrence with Dr. Streit, you're as naive as you're claiming mckenzieblack of being by thinking you can portray the plagiarism issue as the only, or even primary, grievance faculty had with Dr. Streit.

That said, the speech of note here was at a chapel service.

I attended many Malone chapels in my day and never once did I consider the service an academic or scholarly exercise. That was the purpose of the classroom. Rather, chapels were meant to inspire in the Christian faith and most of them did. The dislike the students of my day had with the chapels was when we'd get the occasional pedant professor who'd to turn them into another classroom lecture. That would be a tin-eared professor who merely thought he was walking into another lecture hall but this time with a larger audience. Am I speaking of you?

As much as you think you know, you fail to distinguish academic exercises from those of other genre. I don't hold my pastor's orations on Sunday morning to the same standard as that of a student submitting a research paper. Yes, I care that my pastor speak the truth, but there is an art to inspirational speaking that is lost when the pedant's wish for profuse citations is granted.

58. gardnerpunch - February 27, 2010 at 10:01 am

university_observer,

Wrong on almost all counts!! I'm not a professor at Malone, but flattered that you would think so. I am a recent graduate, who graduated while Streit was president, and still has a number of friends in the student body with a lot more information about this incident than you apparently have. My education at Malone must have been a lot different than yours. My teachers taught me that easy distinctions between "academic and scholarly exercises" and "chapels [that] were meant to inspire in the Christian faith" belied Jesus's command to "love God with our minds" and that such easy distinctions were "recent" intellectual developments, perhaps even products of the Enlightenment. Heard of that?? My philosophy teachers would scratch their heads if they heard you say there was a distinction between "scholarly exercises" and those things which "inspire in the Christian faith" for Augustine or Aquinas or Luther or Calvin. I'm deeply sorry that your academic learning at Malone didn't inspire you in the Christian faith, mine certainly did!!--perhaps you should ask for your tuition money back.

Second, maybe they didn't do this when you were at Malone, but a couple of chapel services at Malone every year are considered "academic convocations" and you know who speaks at those?? You guessed it--the college president. I'm guessing that the president would be surprised to hear you say that when he speaks at the academic convocation that this is not an academic exercise. But, if your view is that all we are doing is "worshipping God", I suppose we can leave our brains in the library or the dorm room. That makes sense.

Finally, I must confess to you that I may have slept in that day when my communication arts teacher taught the distinction between the "genre" where integrity is required and the "genre" where integrity is not required. So you may need to give some of that tuition money back, because of that little tidbit of information you acquired. Embarrassing.

59. university_observer - February 27, 2010 at 04:45 pm

gardnerpunch,

I probably know more about the situation than you think. And I'm not so naive to think this is, as you and many others portray, only a student issue with the president over plagiarism. Who are you trying to fool? The inmates do indeed run the asylum at plenty of universities. Malone has yet to reach that stage, though it's making progress.

Since you're in the process of crediting your professors with the fount of knowledge you've become, I'll assume you also credit them with your ability to conflate and draw illogical conclusions. I never stated, or even implied, the classroom environment at Malone was uninspiring in the faith.

Furthermore, you continue to fail to make any distinction between an academic exercise and that of the chapel service - even one designated for the academic convocation.

If you conducted an even cursory review of speakers and topics at academic convocations across the country, you'd find the common theme is an inspirational message to the university body. Such convocations are not rigorous academic exercises chock-full of citations and footnotes nor are they meant to be.

As an example in the address of note, Streit made a reference to Janus. If I'm in the audience, am I thinking that is innate knowledge he possessed or that it was gleaned from some other source? I know of no rational person who would think the former. Given the latter, is it necessary or even important that he provide a citation for the reference in an oral address?

This is the distinction your communication arts prof failed to teach you. Would that be the same prof and Aviso advisor who thought shock therapy publicity appropriate for the issue of nude males cavorting in the Malone dorms? Integrity? Never let it interfere with a good publicity event. (Coincidently, that was likely the same time you were on campus, but I'll refrain from making conclusions.)

One can understand youthful naivete in students and perhaps even the false sense of empowerment found by hunting down their university president, but the self-righteous theme of doing God's work as you railroad an honorable man is shameful. Dr. Streit had decades of track record in Christian service that will long outlive the disservice he was done by zealous faculty and students.

60. honore - February 28, 2010 at 09:49 am

"i have a dream"....oops, I take that back, I mean, "I might have a dream"

"ask not what your country can do for you...."...ooops, I take that back, I mean, "don't inquire about what your political polyglot can do for each organism..."

This is just laughable...more academic navel lint chewing...just pathetic.

61. lbarclay - February 28, 2010 at 10:39 pm

Seriously...it this it!?!? I have to agree with sross (post #3). I have known Dr. Streit, when I attended ONU. Who really cares if he didn't site Wikipedia, University of Iowa, or Christ himself. What it boils down to is whether or not he was effective as university president, in making the university the best that it could be. Hopefully there is more to this story than this, because this alone is completely erroneous.

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