The president of the University of South Carolina resigned Wednesday following a recent plagiarism incident in which he delivered a commencement address without citing a passage taken from another person’s speech.
Bob Caslen said in a statement that “Trust is the most important ingredient of effective leadership, and when it is lost, it is nearly impossible to lead.”
“I believe that is the case right now between the University of South Carolina and its president,” Caslen continued. He also said his resignation would be effective as of Thursday.
The 67-year-old was an active service member for the greater part of five decades before taking over in Columbia. Caslen, a retired Army general and Bronze Star recipient, was named USC president in 2019 after serving a six-year stint as the superintendent at West Point.
Fitsnews was the first outlet to report the story after an investigation of the incident uncovered the plagiarism. Caslen’s remarks were nearly identical to those from a speech by William H. McRaven, who gave a speech to the University of Texas in 2014.
Caslen’s plagiarized speech from last week:
“Know that life is not fair and if you’re like me you’ll fail often. But if you take some risks, step up when times are toughest, face down the cowardly bullies and lift up the downtrodden and never, never give up — if you do those things, the next generation and the generations to follow will live in a world far better than the one we have today.”
“And what started here — today — will indeed change the world for the better.”
McRaven’s version from seven years ago via transcript:
“Know that life is not fair and that you will fail often. But if take you take some risks, step up when the times are the toughest, face down the bullies, lift up the downtrodden and never, ever give up — if you do these things, the next generation and the generations that follow will live in a world far better than the one we have today.
“And what started here will indeed have changed the world — for the better.”
Caslen apologized for his actions in a statement to the Post and Courier. “During my remarks in our weekend commencement ceremonies, I shared a well-known quote from Admiral William McRaven and failed to cite him as its original author and speaker,” he told the newspaper.
Harris Pastides, who preceded Caslen at South Carolina, will assume the role as interim president for the university.
University of South Carolina President resigns after plagiarism incident was originally published on wbt.com