Last week, we were dismayed to hear that Brandon Eickel, James Madison University’s student government president, had plagiarized nearly half of his campaign platform from Student Assembly President Zach Pilchen ’09. This week, we are again dismayed by Eickel’s half-hearted reaction.
p. As any student at the College knows, plagiarism is a serious offense. Eickel apologized to Pilchen and Vice President Valerie Hopkins ’09, but qualified his sentiment by saying, “I felt as if my ability to make these things happen on JMU’s campus was more significant than where the ideas originated.”
p. We disagree with Eickel in that we feel the theft of ideas is an egregious crime, regardless of Eickel’s intentions. We appreciate Eickel’s apology, but feel his actions are incomplete. In order to show that he has learned from his mistake, Eickel should resign his post to show his respect for JMU, JMU’s student government, Pilchen and Hopkins, the College and, most importantly, himself.
p. It does not appear that Eickel will be forcibly removed from office. Unlike at the College, JMU’s honor code does not extend beyond the classroom. Moreover, JMU’s student senate recently rejected a vote to impeach Eickel.
p. Nonetheless, it is not too late for Eickel to fully recognize his error. Resigning would be an appropriate step, and would set a proper example for his peers who elected him.