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
2 months 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
2 months 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
2 months 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
2 months 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
2 months ago

does the honor code apply to her??

NoTRIBE
Reply to  The Honor Council
2 months ago

It should. She should be expelled

Texas A&M Swim Fan
Reply to  NoTRIBE
2 months 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
2 months 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
2 months 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
2 months ago

How do you know? This just came out.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Tribe Parent
2 months 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
2 months 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
2 months 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
2 months ago

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

VA Steve
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
2 months 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
2 months ago

You’re unbelievably naive.

VA Steve
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
2 months ago

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

H2OHorse
Reply to  The Honor Council
2 months 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
2 months 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.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder 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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