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Professor Plagiarized ‘Plagiarism’ Definition in Textbook, Co-Author Says

This may be the plagiarism brouhaha to end all plagiarism brouhahas.

A professor at Miami Dade College and co-author of the textbook The Freedom to Communicate is accusing a colleague and fellow author of plagiarizing portions of the book, the Miami Herald reports. What makes this plagiarism spat distinctive amid the recent spate of high-profile cases is the allegation that Adam Vellone, a communications professor, plagiarized the definition of plagiarism in the textbook, lifting it nearly word for word from Turnitin, a plagiarism-detection website.

The college conducted an investigation and found some passages were in need of clarification. The textbook’s publisher might have been responsible by removing quotation marks and citations, according to the report. But Isabel del Pino-Allen, a professor and another co-author, told the newspaper she was “flabbergasted” by the findings.

Neither Mr. Vellone nor the three other co-authors talked to the newspaper. On their behalf, the president of the United Faculty of Miami Dade College union stressed that the university found the allegations to be “completely unfounded.”

Jason Chu, Turnitin’s education director, told the Herald the textbook demonstrated “sloppy scholarship,” not plagiarism. “Is it unethical, improper? Absolutely,” he said.

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