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Principal Accused Of Plagiarism At Esteemed Manhattan School For Writers And Artists

Did Joseph Anderson Use Without Attribution For Commencement Speech?
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Joseph Anderson

Joseph Anderson, principal of the Clinton School for Writers and Artists on Manhattan’s West Side, is accused of copping material from another writer without attribution for the school’s commencement speech. (Photo: CBS 2)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A principal at a top writing school in Manhattan has been accused of ripping off a famous commencement speech.

“We can’t tolerate plagiarism in our system,” NYC School Chancellor Dennis Walcott said on Wednesday.

That’s the accusation being leveled at Joseph Anderson, principal of the Clinton School for Writers and Artists on the West Side, reports CBS 2’s Scott Rapoport.

It is alleged that at a commencement speech he delivered to his eighth grade class, Anderson ripped off passages of another graduation speech by writer David Foster Wallace, delivered in 2005, reciting the words without attribution.

It’s an accusation that is particularly ironic for a school that prides itself on being geared toward writers.

So what does Principal Anderson have to say about all this? Well, Rapoport’s attempts to contact him were unsuccessful.

But according to his union, which he spoke with Tuesday, Anderson said he meant to attribute the speech but forgot, saying about 20 percent of his speech was taken from Foster Wallace and that he is very upset about the incident.

“We have a standard that we have to adhere to and that standard does not include plagiarism,” Walcott said.

Walcott added the entire matter in under investigation.

Walcott said if the plagiarism accusation proves to be true, he will then decide what action to take against the principal.

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