Every Friday, we choose an alum who has been making headlines—for better or for worse.
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Kevin Kopelson ’79

It’s one thing to get caught plagiarizing. It’s another to shout about your own plagiarism from the rooftops—or at least in the London Review of Books, as Kevin Kopelson ’79 did recently. In a 4,400-word essay (which we assume he wrote himself), Kopelson, a literary critic and English professor at the University of Iowa, tells of three instances in which he plagiarized academic papers. In fourth grade, he copied an encyclopedia entry on Hernando Cortez; in a music class at Yale, he handed in a paper his brother had written at Harvard; and in graduate school at Brown, he lifted a published paper by gender theorist Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick ’75PhD.

Weirdly, when Kopelson later met Sedgwick and she offered to read his work, he sent her the paper he stole from her. Kopelson writes: “As far as I know, Eve’s never read the thing. (But what if she has!) Never seen my name above her work. Never noticed the plagiarism. Well, she will now.”

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