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Harvard Reprimands Law Professor Over Book
AP Education Writer
April 14, 2005, 4:50 PM EDT
BOSTON -- Harvard University reproached law professor Laurence H. Tribe for failing to properly credit another author's work in a book published two decades ago.
President Lawrence Summers and Law School Dean Elena Kagan said they concluded that Tribe's error was unintentional after they reviewed a report on an investigation by former Harvard President Derek Bok and two other scholars.
The panel was appointed last fall after The Weekly Standard magazine pointed out similarities, including one exact 19-word passage, between his 1985 book "God Save This Honorable Court" and a 1974 book "Justices and Presidents" by Henry J. Abraham of the University of Virginia.
Tribe, a constitutional scholar who represented Al Gore in the 2000 Florida election dispute, acknowledged the mistake and apologized publicly and in a letter to Abraham. His book did not have footnotes but mentioned Abraham's in a bibliographic note.
Summers and Kagan said Thursday that the problem "related more to matters of phrasing than to fundamental ideas" but still represented "a significant lapse in proper academic practice."
"We have conveyed these conclusions and concerns to Professor Tribe, and now consider the matter closed," they said in a statement.
Tribe said in a statement: "I am gratified that the university's inquiry found no basis for accusations of dishonesty or of intellectual theft."
A call to Abraham was not immediately returned.
The accusations were part of a string of allegations of sloppy attribution against prominent scholars, including Tribe's Harvard colleague Charles J. Ogletree, who lifted a six-paragraph passage almost directly from another work.
Ogletree attributed the mistake to assistants but apologized, and a Harvard investigation found no deliberate wrongdoing.
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