Late Thursday evening, several widely-read internet weblogs reported that a former College student plagiarized at least two articles while he worked as a writer for The Flat Hat. According to the websites Daily Kos and Atrios, phrases and full sentances of these articles were similar, and in some cases identical, to those of other authors. Ben Domenech, a student who enrolled in the College in 1999, is currently a blogger with Washingtonpost.com. While Domenech deserves the benefit of the doubt until all of the facts are known, if true, his actions would be deeply offensive to us as journalists and as students.
No one presently involved with the paper has ever worked with Domenech. We are an entirely student-run newspaper with a completely new staff every four years. However, as the current stewards of our campus newspaper, we feel this is an opportunity to comment on plagiarism’s corrosive effect on The Flat Hat, the College and individual reputations.
As a newsaper, we necessarily place a great amount of trust in our writers, as the number and variety of potential sources make it impossible for us to catch every instance of plagiarism. If a copied article that has fallen through the cracks comes to our attention, we strive to respond in a way that is fair to the writer and forthcoming to our readers. The Flat Hat has spent over 95 years building an honest relationship with you, the reader. We would never allow one writer to ruin our good name.
Hat tip to JAC at Eschaton.