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HWS officials looking into plagiarism allegation against their president

Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva is looking into allegations that its president, Gregory Vincent, may have plagiarized portions of his doctoral dissertation.

According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, which is a newspaper and website that provides news and information about colleges and universities, an anonymous email was sent recently to that publication as well as other media outlets and to Hobart and William Smith officials. The Chronicle says it was also sent to officials at the University of Pennsylvania, which awarded Vincent an Ed.D. in 2004.

Reportedly that email (which was not sent to WXXI) claims that Vincent’s dissertation for his doctorate in education repeatedly uses long passages from other works without identifying them as such.

Vincent was named last year to succeed longtime president Mark Gearan. Vincent graduated from the Geneva-based colleges in 1983, and before he took over as president at HWS, served at The University of Texas at Austin as Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement.

A statement sent out by Hobart and William Smith’s board of trustees Chair Thomas Bozzuto, on Wednesday, says that:

Hobart and William Smith Colleges are aware of the allegations in the anonymous email and are committed to thoroughly and seriously investigating them. This process to examine the issue fully and fairly has already begun.”

A lengthier statement that went out to the campus community from Bozzuto says that while he remains wary of any accusation that is unsigned, the board is committed to a thorough investigation.

In that statement he  says that:

"I have been in touch with President Vincent regarding this course of action and he concurs that the Colleges’ commitment to academic integrity and excellence remain our enduring priority."

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.