Monday, October 6, 2014

Belgian Rector resigns over plagiarized speech

The rector of the Free University of Brussels in Belgium, Alain Delchambre, gave a speech on the opening day of the academic year on Sept. 19, 2014 that turned out to have been heavily plagiarized from a number of sources, among them former French president Jacques Chirac, according to media reports (French: Le Monde [paywall], La Libre [with a good synopsis of the plagiarized portions], Flemish: Staandard ). The speech was written by a speech writer who was summarily fired on the spot.

German Spiegel Online reports that Delchambre has resigned, as the university takes a hard line against plagiarists among the students, and Delchambre felt that this step was in the best interests of the institution. Of course, it took a media outrage to encourage him to take this step, but this is, perhaps, a warning signal to others: If you must use a speechwriter, make it clear that plagiarism (from the Wikipedia or elsewhere) is not going to be tolerated.

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