Harvard rejects Hornstine
Harvard has withdrawn its acceptance of Blair Hornstine, the sole valedictorian of New Jersey’s Moorestown High School, because her newspaper essays were heavily plagiarized, according to The Harvard Crimson, which cites unnamed sources.
Her acceptance came under scrutiny after her local newspaper, the Courier-Post, reported that Hornstine had “misused sources” in five stories she wrote for the paper and had lifted extensive material directly from speeches and papers published on the Internet. The media attention followed her decision to sue the Moorestown, N.J. school system to ensure she graduate as sole valedictorian of her high school. A federal judge ruled in Hornstine’s favor last month and forbid the school district from naming a co-valedictorian.
Harvard takes plagiarism very seriously.
Hornstine defended her plagiarism by saying she was untrained in journalism and didn’t know how to cite sources without footnotes. This is nonsense: Any decent student knows how to use quotation marks. And Hornstine didn’t just quote others; she lifted the better part of her Thanksgiving essay from President Clinton’s Thanksgiving proclamation and another source.
Hornstine’s lawsuit against the district for trying to name co-valedictorians is still on, though Harvard’s action won’t help her case. I wonder what university will take her. And whether she’ll sue Harvard.
Talk about your poetic justice. If she’d been willing to share valedictorian honors with a fellow student, Blair Hornstine would have stayed out of the national news, nobody would have checked her old newspaper essays and she’d be on her way to Harvard. I almost feel sorry for her, if only because she’s taking the fall for her pushy parents.