William & Mary Plagiarized Stanford’s Release When Announcing Cut of Swimming

William & Mary athletics director Samantha Huge has admitted that she plagiarized portions of the school’s announcement that it was cutting swimming & diving, among other athletics programs.

Earlier this month, William & Mary announced that it would be cutting 7 of its athletics programs, including men’s and women’s swimming & diving, men’s and women’s gymnastics, men’s indoor and outdoor track & field, and women’s volleyball. In that announcement, several sentences were taken verbatim from an announcement made by Stanford that they were cutting 11 sports in July.

The images below highlight the parallels between William & Mary’s statement and Stanford’s. Dr. Cam Shriver, a former member of the school’s men’s track & field team, prepared these documents highlighting the similarities. The original William & Mary letter, which can be read here, is signed by Huge, William & Mary President Katherine Rowe, and William & Mary Provost Peggy Agouris.

Courtesy: Dr. Cram Shriver

Courtesy: Dr. Cam Shriver

Courtesy: Dr. Cam Shriver

As part of her acknowledgement, Huge says that she “consulted with professional colleagues and peers at several institutions, including Stanford University.”

Huge acknowledges that she did not take enough care with publishing the information, and promises “more transparency.” That promise for transparency comes as William & Mary has still not provided documents requested by SwimSwam as part of an FOIA request.

As the leader of William & Mary Athletics, I affirm that the department’s and university’s integrity is paramount. I acknowledge the concerns raised by some members of the W&M community regarding the athletics communications on September 3, specifically the similarities to those of other institutions.

As we prepared to announce the very difficult decision to eliminate seven varsity programs, we consulted with professional colleagues and peers at several institutions, including Stanford University. We were seeking to engage a thoughtful process, then communicate those actions as respectfully as possible. Our goal was to emulate best practices, not imitate. We clearly fell short of the William & Mary community’s standards. Upon reflection, we should have taken more care with the review of the materials we shared with our community. At the end of the day, regardless of the drafting process, I take responsibility and we will do better. Above all, the goal was to convey respect to those most directly affected. I regret very much that we did not meet that goal.

In the coming weeks we will share, with more transparency, our process and the data that led us to our decision regarding Division I athletics.

William & Mary requires students to agree to an ‘honor code’ that reads:”As a Member of the William & Mary community I pledge, on my Honor, not to lie, cheat, or steal in either my academic or personal life.”

The school claims that its is the oldest student honor code in the nation, with documented roots back to at least 1736. The student handbook further defines ‘cheating’ to include ‘plagiarism.’

Meanwhile, as a group of organized William & Mary swimming & diving alumni have collected over $1 million in pledges, in addition to the existing $3 million endowment, Huge and the William & Mary administration have continued to reject any effort to save the program.

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Swimmer
1 year ago

Couldn’t take responsibility for her actions and just wanted to get it over with. At the end, it’s always the athletes who get hurt, not her paycheck.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Swimmer
1 year ago

If you actually read her statement, instead of acting the emotional victim, she absolutely did take responsibility for this.

Swimmer
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
1 year ago

Saying I am ‘Taking responsibility’ is not the same as actually taking it. She should have quit after being responsible for such disastrous financial management.

Lil’longhorn
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
1 year ago

To use a variation on the words written by Gertrude Stein: plagiarism is plagiarism is plagiarism. Why is it bad? It is a form of theft, it is cheating, it is deceitful, it is disrespectful, and it demonstrates a lack of personal integrity. It’s a Huge problem ol’Longhorn.

The Honor Council
1 year ago

does the honor code apply to her??

NoTRIBE
Reply to  The Honor Council
1 year ago

It should. She should be expelled

Texas A&M Swim Fan
Reply to  NoTRIBE
1 year ago

No dog huntin here but politely put : She should be released from her responsibilities (I.e. “booted” off of campus). They would be a lot better off with her gone (my opinion only)!!

H2oHorse
Reply to  The Honor Council
1 year ago

Maybe, maybe not. But it is an ethics violation according to the college’s code of ethics.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  The Honor Council
1 year ago

Of course not, nor does it apply to the PR minion who got an email of the Stanford statement from some similar minion at Stanford and just ran with it to Legal Affairs to review, and probably a host of other stakeholders, before plopping on the desk as vetted for the AD’s signature. This is getting traction on SwimSwam, but nowhere else.

Tribe Parent
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
1 year ago

How do you know? This just came out.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Tribe Parent
1 year ago

It came out on the 18th as a Friday news dump (well played W&M). As of the 20th, there are ZERO Google hits outside of SwimSwam. On the scale of national scandals that happen practically every day, this rates a 1 out of 10.

Mary Smith
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
1 year ago

Perhaps you found no Google hits other than SwimSwam because her statement was only published on William & Mary’s website, under News & Media, and then under Announcements. I had difficulty finding it. However, it was the subject of an article in the Richmond Times Dispatch today.

Marcus Crassus
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
1 year ago

Well, my old man was a Navy vet…and used to say if the ship ran aground or collided with another, it didn’t matter if the Captain was on the bridge or not, it was his responsibility and would be held accountable.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  The Honor Council
1 year ago

If you read the actual Honor Code, it only applies to students.

VA Steve
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
1 year ago

Is your measure of integrity how heavily it is covered in the national media? Kudos to SwimSwam for covering the issue. Seems to me if you’re an administrator at a University that you would want them to help model behavior among students, faculty and others. This is very poor, dishonorable and heartless behavior.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  VA Steve
1 year ago

You’re unbelievably naive.

VA Steve
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
1 year ago

No sir. Just an Ol’ Cavalier, professor, administrator, official, team rep, and swim parent.

H2OHorse
Reply to  The Honor Council
1 year ago

technically not the honor code, but she did violate the Ethics code of the college. This is the code to which administrators and faculty are held.

VA Steve
1 year ago

Pretty poor excuse. Note using this information without quotes and without attribution would be a potential Honor Code violation for a W&M student.

ANONYMOUS
1 year ago

As if cutting the sports weren’t bad enough, it has to be something that she didn’t even write

Guerra
Reply to  ANONYMOUS
1 year ago

That’s the problem with college administration and I’m not just talking about athletic directors. You have all these lazy “retired on the job” professors and administrators that draw huge paychecks with their nice offices and fancy titles and they don’t want to lift a finger to work nor do they care about the students. I see it all the time at Indiana University. It’s a joke and I hate that their decisions and actions negatively affects so many innocent kids. Maybe one of the good things that will come out of the COVID 19 is that this will be reformed and the trash will be taken out.

Last edited 1 year ago by Guerra
The Importer AND Exporter
Reply to  Guerra
1 year ago

The current discussion notwithstanding, at least we now know that Guerra is affiliated with IU.

CA_LAWYER
Reply to  The Importer AND Exporter
1 year ago

You get little tidits here and there. For example Steven Nolan worked on the Bernie campaign and Ol’ Longhorn is a nurse somewhere in the Austin area.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  CA_LAWYER
1 year ago

It’s Dr. Ol’ Longhorn to you, Nunesbro. But thanks for your ongoing personal interest in me. Living rent-free in your head.

CA_LAWYER
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
1 year ago

There’s nothing wrong with being an RN, no reason for you to try and upsell yourself to a PA or MD.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  ANONYMOUS
1 year ago

Do you think any AD writes his/her communications? Of course they don’t. They have a comms department for that.

Tribe Parent
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
1 year ago

So, the AD, President and Provost are not responsible for the communications to which they sign their names? They are, and this is on them.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Tribe Parent
1 year ago

Fire them all — and the BOV who hired them all — then. Everyone on this thread has singled out the AD. She got thrown under the bus.

Tribe Parent
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
1 year ago

The AD was the one who put out the statement addressing this issue, so yes, she is being singled out. But you are correct that the President and Provost are equally at fault. Their names were also on this document and should take equal responsibility.

WM Student
1 year ago

As a WM student, I would be suspended (or worse) for this behavior. Administration should be held to the same level of accountability and integrity as it’s students, if not a higher one. I am embarrassed to be represented by this woman.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  WM Student
1 year ago

IT’S “ITS”. smh

Also MD Also Swim Dad
1 year ago

Well, you know what they say: imitation is the highest form of feckless abject failure to do your job

H2oHorse
Reply to  Also MD Also Swim Dad
1 year ago

Ms. Huge mistake had made a career of failing up.

Guerra
1 year ago

Pitiful! This just goes to show you that before we just conveniently blame swimming getting cut because of football, the first place we need to look is at the crooked, inept and overpaid administrators that plague our institutions across this country. It is truly a big problem that got out of control years ago and continues to get worse.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Guerra
1 year ago

Thanks to Betsy Devos.

Roll
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
1 year ago

She’s just gotta sell one of those boats and W&M can afford to bring back the swim team. It’s all in her court now.

Bryce Hartman
1 year ago

This is absolutely sickening. First thing I did after reading the side-by-side comparison was finally pledge to the campaign.

I worked on deck at W&M as a club coach for several years not too long ago, and saw the honest work and dedication of Tribe coaches and swimmers up close. Having a club team all up in your space during overlapping time slots is a major hassle, but the team didn’t mind, ever. In addition to all the accolades and accomplishments that have been noted recently, W&M swimming absolutely inspired that next generation of swimmers.

I can’t speak for what was said in person to the teams that were cut, but this team sure didn’t deserve to have their death… Read more »

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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