The reason is, allegedly, her plagiarism. In addition to the fact that she admitted to plagiarizing parts of her published newspaper articles, her previous academic work is now being examined for any uncited borrowing as well, according to Moorestown school board president Cyndy Wulfsberg. Her tutors are going to be interviewed as well, I see, and that could certainly turn up some interesting information.
Wow. So, not only does Harvard's decision go against my prediction, and the best hunches of people much more informed about the situation than myself, that Blair would suffer no redress due to her sticky-fingered writing, but her father is supposed to be starting an adjunct teaching position at Harvard this fall as well, according to journalist Jonathan Last. And now Blair can't attend?
If I were her, I'd be very worried about that investigation by the Moorestown school board. As I've pointed out before, plagiarism is specifically banned by Moorestown, so what will happen if the school board comes to the conclusion that Blair's schoolwork was not her own? Does this negate the ruling that she deserved to be sole valedictorian? Can high school diplomas be recalled? (PhD's certainly can be, and have been in the past, on these very same charges.) At the very least, this will probably result in her grades being retroactively adjusted, which will result in a lowered GPA and an invalidated claim to being #1 in the class. What's more, if Moorestown's findings cast a shadow on her high school academic career, won't that make it difficult for her to find any college to accept her, much less an Ivy League one?
A Hornstine without an Ivy League education? Whatever will she do?
Thanks to Randee, Adam, Nick, and Matt for the tips.
Update: I was thinking more about this whole Blair situation today, and I'm starting to feel sorry for her. (I've been watching chick flick sob stories on the Lifetime Channel all day while recuperating from jet lag, so I'm feeling sorry for the entire female population right now.)
I mean, one of the possible explanations for this mess is that Blair is not really smart enough for the Ivy Leagues (and that's no real insult; I'm not, either), but her family has convinced her that anything less than valedictorian and Harvard isn't good enough. I mean, why do kids plagiarize? Either they aren't smart enough to do the work, or they're lazy, or they want to break the rules and get away with it. Blair doesn't sound like a risk-taker or rule-breaker, and I don't think she's lazy. I think she may be smart, but I think she may have been even more desperate to live up to her family's high standards (Joanne Jacobs goes so far as to say that it seems Blair might be "taking the fall" for her demanding family).
Here's an ugly thought. If we accept that Blair is truly disabled, then what if, thanks to her disability, she just isn't capable of completing demanding schoolwork in the time available? (Again, I don't mean this as an insult.) One can imagine her parents encouraging her to accomplish a great deal, despite her disability - but I wonder if that turned into a refusal to lower their standards in a way that defies the reality of the situation. I mean, if I had a kid with an immune disorder, I'd encourage her to do her best, but I wouldn't expect her to get into Harvard, not if she couldn't get through her day at a public high school without having to come home to rest and be tutored. I'd be more worried about her health than her achievements.
Blair's brother is in law school at Harvard, and her dad's now on the faculty (assuming he keeps the adjunct position). I just have this feeling that Blair is going to feel like a failure if she ends up at another college, and if so, then that's a shame. In fact, it's starting to seem like it would make a good Lifetime movie...
Update #2: Reader S noted in my comments that MSNBC says Blair is already taking college classes somewhere. That's interesting. In what sort of college could she be enrolled on such short notice? I mean, I'm assuming that as of a week or two ago, she thought she'd be attending Harvard this fall.
Let's see, is she now attending a community college? Is she at a school that wait-listed her and is now willing to accept her, sticky-fingered writings and all? Or was she (or her family) so driven that her plan all along was to take college-level classes in the summer before she was to officially begin college?Posted by kswygert at July 12, 2003 08:37 AM