Friends Defend SIU President

Friends Defend SIU President
By: Carly O'keefe
CARBONDALE, Il. -- Southern Illinois University President Glenn Poshard has come under fire as of late following accusations of plagiarism. The campus newspaper, the Daily Egyptian reports that, after receiving a tip from an anonymous source, it discovered 30 instances of possible plagiarism in Poshard's 111-page doctoral thesis.
Now the Chicago Tribune has called for Dr. Poshard to step down. The Chicago Tribune September 7 editorial states: "It's an egregious and unforgivable offense for a university president of all people. Poshard should step down."
Poshard has denied the claims, and says he may have forgotten to use quotation marks at times and in some cases failed to attribute sources in the footnotes, but he says it he was not intentionally trying to pass off another's work as his own.
Family members say it was a very busy time in Poshard's life. While he was writing his thesis he was raising a family, working two jobs and running for office.
The accusations of plagiarism have spurred a debate on campus and throughout Southern Illinois.
"They're trying to make southern one of the top research universities, and if you have the president of the university plagiarize his dissertation, how can you take this university seriously?" asked SIU student Sean Olsta.
"I think it's ridiculous that this was 25 years ago, I mean obviously it was important for him to get his PhD, but it was 25 years ago," said SIU student Brian Todorovic. "I think he should stand on his own and fight this."
Poshard's friends and family members defend the university president, philanthropist, and former politician, and call even the notion of possible plagiarism absurd.
"This [thesis] was approved by several professors, I think this is nothing more than a witch hunt," said Poshard's long-time friend Brent Gentry, the chairman of the Williamson County Board.
Friends and family accuse a group known as the Alumni and Faculty against corruption at SIU for planting the accusation anonymously.
"This man has a compassion for people, he has a vision for turning SIU around, and this group that won't say their names is trying to destroy him. I think the justice system should get involved and these people should be held accountable," Gentry said.
Poshard has asked for a thorough review of his thesis to put the accusations to rest. Friends hope it clears his name of any wrong doing.   
"Glenn Poshard is such a man of integrity he's told them to look at anything you want to, look at it and you make the decision, how much more fair can you get? He will come out on top, there's no doubt in my mind," Gentry said.