amherst college plagiarism case
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Carleen Basler, the professor at Amherst College resigned soon after her work was reviewed, and some sentences were not given a credit. Carleen confirmed that she unintentionally plagiarized as she just didn’t cite correctly. Mrs. Basler was an Assistant Professor of American Studies and Sociology. The reason of a quick decision to resign was that Mrs. Basler acknowledged she plagiarized in a decent manner, however she couldn’t tolerate serious violation of academic rules.

Mrs. Basler’s work was reviewed when she was going to prolong her tenure. The Dean of the faculty informed Carleen about sentences that lack proper attribution. There are some measures to be taken in such cases ascribed in the university policy on plagiarism. However, Mrs. Basler decided to resign consciously commenting: “Resigning from my position at Amherst College was a very difficult decision but one that I believe is in the best interest of my family, my students and the greater Amherst College community. I could have gone through the College’s adjudication process, but as the mistakes are mine, I believe resignation was the most honorable and ethical course of action.”

Co-Workers Thoughts on Carleen’s Plagiarism

Karen Sánchez-Eppler, the Chair of American, commented on Mrs. Basler’s plagiarism case saying that it was not serious, and unattributed sentences were only found in some parts. She also commented on the problem of today’s dissertations writing. The drawback is that it has become so easy to copy information.

Mrs. Basler’s resignation resonated with students. Some of them expressed their opinion as for the professor’s plagiarism. Some of them express admiration, and think that a professor Basler made a greater impact in students’ development, and transferred substantial knowledge to them.

The President of the university also expressed his opinion about Mrs. Basler’s plagiarism accusations believing that

We do have an obligation, according not only to our own ethical standards, but also according the policies that are described by the American Association of University Professors, to inform publishers and inform any other institutions”. Thus, it was more about university obligation to inform any other third parties about plagiarism found in Mrs. Basler’s thesis.

Another professor Adams was amazed by plagiarism revelation and confirmed it was a university obligation to take measures. “My colleagues and I were shocked to learn that Carleen Basler had plagiarized part of her academic work while completing her doctoral studies in sociology at Yale University. Neither the Sociology department nor Yale University tolerates plagiarism, which is a fundamental breach of trust as well as an ethical violation”.


Writing a thesis is time-consuming and requires a full immersion into research process. That’s why when you are in the process of writing, you may plagiarize unintentionally. Thus, even minor mistakes as unattributed sentences are considered as plagiarism that presupposes punishment. A similar plagiarism case happened in Heinrich Heine University where the professor Annette Schavan violated university policy on academic integrity.

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