Letters to the Editor (Sept. 25)

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September 25, 2007

4:37 PM

**Eickel is a plagiarist**

p. **To the Editor:**

p. I’ve read a lot of ridiculous columns in The Flat Hat — including one that bashed me for no reason — but Paul Gottschling’s Sept. 18 column, “Eickel is not a crook,” in which he claimed that former James Madison University student body President Brandon Eickel did not commit plagiarism, is by far the most ridiculous, and that’s saying a lot.

p. The point of The Flat Hat’s Sept. 14 staff editorial, “Eickel must resign,” is not that Eickel was inspired by the platform of Student Assembly President Zach Pilchen ’09 and Vice President Valarie Hopkins ’09. Plenty of student government candidates, including myself, look at other candidates’ platforms for inspiration all the time.

p. The point is that he literally took the words right off Pilchen’s and Hopkins’ platform page, to the point where they were almost identical. This is the definition of plagiarism, pure and simple. It’s compounded by the fact that Eickel not only didn’t attribute Pilchen and Hopkins, he put a copyright on the page, implying that he had the legal rights to the information. If I did this — for a paper or an SA website — I would have been suspended for plagiarism.

p. Eickel did the right thing for himself and the JMU and College communities by resigning. I hope that, for the sake of both Eickel and his brother, SA Senator Ryan Eickel ’10 who is an admirable guy who had nothing to do with this, we can all move on from this story. But when we do move on, let there be no doubt about it: Eickel is a plagiarist.

p. __— Matt Beato ’09__

p. **Disturbing sex column**

p. **To the Editor:**
I was quite surprised and very disappointed to read the Behind Closed Doors column in the Sept. 21 issue of The Flat Hat offering women advice on how to perform fellatio. Publishing columns of such a blatant sexual nature detracts from the journalistic integrity and standards that one expects from a reputable student publication at one of the leading colleges in the United States.
I understand that The Flat Hat is intended for students and that some might find this information useful (or at least entertaining). However, I came upon this copy on a bench on Duke of Gloucester street where anyone, including young children, could have picked it up and read it.

p. I want to stress that I am not a prude and favor open discussion among adults on matters of a sexual nature, as long as it takes place in an appropriate forum. And I believe strongly in freedom of the press and I am not advocating any sort of censorship. But I would suggest that the editors and others responsible for publishing The Flat Hat exercise a little more self-regulation of its content. I just don’t think that this type of information should be published in the official student newspaper of the College. As an alumnus and parent of an alumna, I expect a lot more from my alma mater, which is a respected and distinguished institution of higher education. The information contained in this recent column is better suited for an “alternative” newspaper, not The Flat Hat.

p. __— Joe Doss ’79__

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