Ariz. US Senate candidate denies plagiarism, McCain campaign questions opponent’s integrity

By Jacques Billeaud, AP
Thursday, September 30, 2010

Arizona US Senate candidate denies plagiarism

PHOENIX — The Democrat who is challenging Republican John McCain in Arizona’s U.S. Senate race on Thursday denied allegations that his 2005 doctoral dissertation contains sentences plagiarized from other researchers.

Rodney Glassman’s 246-page research paper on teaching children about agriculture contains at least five identical or nearly identical sentences from earlier works by other authors, without footnotes or direct attribution to those works.

At the end of Glassman’s dissertation, there are general citations of the authors’ research in a section that lists reference materials. But Glassman does not offer a citation for separately published summaries of those authors’ works — produced by the Western Region Coordinating Committee for Agricultural Literacy — in which some sentences identical to those in Glassman’s dissertation appear.

Glassman, who wrote the dissertation in getting his Ph.D. in arid land resource sciences at the University of Arizona, said a team of university researchers guided and signed off on his research paper. He denied plagiarism claims.

“I would never intentionally steal anyone’s work,” he told The Associated Press.

In one example from his dissertation, Glassman wrote, “From these humble beginnings, the process by which Americans have been taught about the art and science of using renewable resources has expanded and changed many times.”

An identical sentence appears in the summaries published by the Western Region Coordinating Committee for Agricultural Literacy.

Brian Rogers, a spokesman for McCain’s campaign, said the plagiarism allegations first reported by a blog and later by the Arizona Daily Star call into question Glassman’s integrity and fitness to serve in the U.S. Senate.

“I think a reasonable person would think that if you quote somebody, you should put quotes around them and that those (comments) are your own unless otherwise indicated,” Rogers said.

Glassman, who has five degrees from the University of Arizona and spent two years on the Tucson City Council before resigning to launch his Senate bid, is a decisive underdog to McCain, who has never lost a race in Arizona and is well-funded.

Glassman said the McCain campaign was zeroing in on his dissertation to divert attention away from the four-term senator’s poor record on jobs and education.

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