Related: Education, Honor Code

A Cheating State of Mind


One day he was famous for being a new, brash, acerbic conservative blogger on The next day he was a disgraced ex-Post-staffer. What happened to Ben Domenech? Plagiarism. Plain and simple, the most elementary form of academic theft. News reports indicate that he first plagiarized while writing for the student newspaper at the College of William and Mary, and then continued his dishonest ways in subsequent writings.

Some commentators are complaining that there’s a tinge of politics in the whole “outing” of a conservative blogger’s misdeeds after he outrageously characterized Coretta Scott King as a “communist.” Mr. Domenech offers his own explanation in his blog “Red America Ends” on

Politics aside, plagiarism is an academic crime, never justifiable, always a guaranteed act of self-destruction. At Trinity, our Academic Honesty Policy makes it clear that plagiarism and other forms of cheating will not be tolerated. As the season for final exams and papers draws near, I am taking this opportunity to remind students that the consequences of plagiarism can be devastating. For underclass students, the first offense is an “F” for the course, and the second offense if suspension for a semester. We do not refund your tuition. Even worse, for seniors and graduate students, even if it’s a first offense, the penalty for plagiarism and other academic dishonesty is expulsion. Some of my saddest days at Trinity have been when I have had to sign expulsion letters in plagiarism cases. But there is no possible excuse for such behavior.

Ben Domenech’s case is a morality tale. Plagiarism can kill a potentially great career. Don’t let it happen to you.

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Patricia A. McGuire, President, Trinity, 125 Michigan Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20017
Phone: 202.884.9050   Email: