Porter pres scrutinized after plagiarism allegations

MIDDLEBURY — The Porter Medical Center Board is investigating allegations that the organization’s president, Dr. Seleem Choudhury, plagiarized material used in a series of recent, weekly addresses to the hospital community.

Porter officials released the following statement on Tuesday, Sept. 24:

“The Porter Medical Center Board is continuing its due diligence with regard to the complaint that, when writing his weekly messages to the Porter community, our president, Seleem Choudhury, used language from other sources without authorization or attribution. We share the PMC community’s need for resolution and are working as quickly as we can, while also ensuring a thorough and thoughtful process. We will continue to share information as the process moves forward.”

News of the investigation followed a complaint made to PMC and an anonymous tip sent to news organizations, including the Independent.

Choudhury, in his Sept. 13 weekly message to the community, acknowledged and apologized for having “copied an explanation and definition of anxiety and anticipation from a blog site.”

But the anonymous complainants — using the online plagiarism checkers like “duplichecker.com” — alleged examples of plagiarism in seven other Choudhury weekly messages. These weekly messages — a tradition started by former PMC President Dr. Fred Kniffin — are usually written in an informal, conversational style through which the president updates the Porter community about goings on at the South Street campus.

“The president of PMC, Dr. Seleem Choudhury, admitted to plagiarizing the work of one blog site in his most recent weekly message to his organization on 9/13/19. Unfortunately, he failed to take ownership of the other seven messages where he plagiarized online blogs and articles,” the tipster’s email stated.

The anonymous source also highlighted Porter’s code of conduct, section 3.2, pertaining to misappropriation of proprietary information: “Individuals shall not take confidential or proprietary information belonging to another person or entity without permission nor use any publication, document, computer program, information or product in violation of a third party’s interest. Individuals are responsible to ensure that they do not improperly copy, for their own use, documents, computer programs, or other media in violation of applicable copyright laws or licensing agreements.”

Sources allegedly tapped by Choudhury for his messages included psychologytoday.com, blogs.scientificamerican.com, and ajmc.com.

Reporter John Flowers is at johnf@addisonindependent.com.

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