Dishonest, Cheater, Southern Illinois University President Glenn Poshard Should Resign

Glenn Poshard, president of Southern Illinois University that includes Carbondale and Edwardsville, is a former Democratic Congressperson and failed Democratic party candidate for governor. He “stole” his Ph.D. degree from S.I.U. in 1984 because he plagiarised and faked his doctoral dissertation. At least thirty times he plagiarised by not footnoting lifted sources or citing sources but failing to use quotation marks.

Image Courtesy of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The disgraceful university president, as is common, conceded “mistakes” were made but were “unintentional.” If I had a dollar for every student or academician who has said that cheating was “unintentional” I could retire to the south of France. According to the Chicago Tribune in their September 1, 2007 print edition, President Poshard stated: “When this dissertation was written, I had a lot of plates on my table, and that’s no excuse.” While at least he was able to eat as poverty in America, despite phony statistics, grows with malnutrition and “food-challenged” Americans increasing rapidly. Yet to remain consistent with the topic at hand, Mr, can’t call him Doctor Poshard, wrote a phony 111-page dissertation in which entire pages were copied verbatim from other sources.

Understand this man is the president of a major public university in Illinois and he said according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, that his dissertation committee did not tell him he had to put borrowed material in quotation marks but required only footnotes. He is lying obviously; there is not one academician in the United States that would tell that to a student, much less a doctoral candidate. Even if that bizarre tale were true, it is not credible that in the last twenty-three years, including almost twenty-one months as a university president, he never learned that quotation marks are required when quoting verbatim another person’s research. He now states he would be willing to correct those mistakes. No, you have already cheated in order to get your degree, misrepresented yourself in your political and academic career, financially benefitted from this ruse (his salary is $300,000) and it is too late to receive penance and correct the “errors.” It is not the final product alone that is at issue. It was the means that were used to submit a piece of scholarship that was not one’s own. That cannot be corrected.

He is a liar or he is so utterly ignorant of basic academic research requirements, that his competence can be questioned. I recognise I am using direct language but I have a zero tolerance policy on dishonour and ethical lapses such as this. Academia has enough problems with academic freedom violations and political witch-hunts, that it does not need dishonest presidents who feign stupidity and ignorance in committing academic acts of misconduct and fraud. He lied about his credentials and got a six-figured job as a university president. This is a real “huxter”.

Ward Churchill, the brilliant scholar from the University of Colorado, was fired for his political beliefs wrapped in the charade of faculty assessment of scholarly impropriety and misconduct. What Mr Poshard did was much more dishonest and egregious than anything I have read about Mr Churchill. I wonder if his treatment will be different? Will a conservative hack with no academic experience to run a major university, which is all too common today, be able to maintain a position for actions, if committed by a freshperson, could lead to an F and possible expulsion from a university? If he were the president of the University of Colorado, do you think he would have stood by and protected the academic freedom of Ward Churchill? This staunchly conservative president, and most conservatives are honourable, decent people, would have sent him packing like a Hank Brown did.

Resign President Poshard. Too often governing boards are beholden to a university president who appoints them. Roger Tedrick, chairperson of the S.I.U. Board of Trustees, is apparently openly supportive of this failed president. Governing boards should be independent and not serve at the pleasure of a president which is all too rarely the case. In any event, “Doctor” Poshard is a disgrace to academia and lacks the integrity to assume responsibility for dishonest and reprehensible behaviour.

Walker Wendler, S.I.U. former chancellor caught in plagiarism scandal. Fernando M. TreviƱo is current chancellor at Carbondale campus.
Chris Dussold, S.I.U. Edwardsville professor was dismissed for copying another professor’s teaching-philiosophy statement for his tenure application preparation. Claims he did not get due process and is suing S.I.U.

Kirstein articles on Mr Poshard:

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