Back in April, William A. Meehan, president of Jacksonville State University in Alabama, was accused of plagiarism. According to a lawsuit, Mr. Meehan copied large portions of his dissertation verbatim from a dissertation published three years earlier.
At the time, a university spokesman said there was no substance to the accusations, and the matter has since faded from the news.
But that changed on Monday, when a chart (click on “Download PDF” icon in order to read the document) surfaced online. The chart highlights portions of Mr. Meehan’s dissertation that mirror the work of Carl Boening, chairman of the behavioral-studies division at Shelton State Community College, also in Alabama.
The chart appeared on a number of blogs, including a high-traffic site, Boing Boing (the comments on the post are worth reading). The chart demonstrated that seeing the highlighted portions of the dissertation is certainly more dramatic than hearing them described.
Patty Hobbs, a spokeswoman for Jacksonville State, said the plagiarism charges had been investigated and refuted by lawyers at both Jacksonville and Alabama. “This is not new,” said Ms. Hobbs. “It’s taken on a life of its own on the blogs. Our stand on it is still the same.”
Mr. Meehan received his doctorate in education from the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa in 1999. The university reportedly reviewed the plagiarism charges, though questions have been raised about the thoroughness of that investigation.
Mr. Meehan has run into trouble with allegations of plagiarism before. In 2007 newspaper columns supposedly written by him turned out to have been copied. —Thomas Bartlett