Oracle Editor in Chief Adam Becker resigned after being confronted with charges that he plagiarized two articles on the front page of Friday’s paper.
The stories were nearly identical to two press releases published on the USF News Web site. One of the stories reported that a USF engineering professor Autar Krishen Kaw was awarded the title of Florida Professor of the Year by two state education agencies. Becker’s name was cited at the end of the story as the author. The second story in question was about USF’s Lakeland campus finding a location to house the primary regional campus in Polk County. The second story had no byline, however, it was written by Becker.
When questioned Friday by Oracle Adviser Jay Lawrence about the similarities of the stories, Becker admitted to making an error in judgment. He resigned from his position effective immediately.
Becker declined to comment.
Had Becker not resigned, Lawrence would have had to recommend to Student Affairs, the department that oversees The Oracle, that he be fired. The decision would then have been in the hands of the vice president of Student Affairs.
“Adam knew he made a bad decision and he realized the severity of the problem and the harm to The Oracle’s credibility,” Lawrence said Sunday night. “It’s unfortunate.”
Lawrence appointed former Associate Editor Stefanie Green as acting editor in chief. A search is underway for someone to fill the position for spring 2005.
“In this time of transition, the staff of The Oracle will work diligently to uphold the paper’s credibility and we will strive to produce a reliable college newspaper,” Green said.