Jan. 20, 2004 • Volume 13 Number 9

Committee to Assess Plagiarism Charge Against Faculty Member

Academic Vice President and Dean of Faculties John Neuhauser announced last week that he will appoint a faculty committee to investigate accusations of plagiarism against University Professor of Psychoanalysis William Meissner, SJ, MD (Theology).

The Boston Psychoanalytic Society has charged that Fr. Meissner, in his 2003 book, The Ethical Dimension of Psychoanalysis: A Dialogue, borrowed ideas and phrases without proper attribution from a book published in 1991 by Syracuse University Professor Ernest Wallwork.

The controversy came to light earlier this month in a story published by the Boston Globe. In a statement released by Boston College last week, Fr. Meissner maintained that he had not engaged in plagiarism, saying his book "gives ample and appropriate credit to the author bringing these charges."

Neuhauser said the University had an obligation to review any matter involving questions of academic integrity. "While we can't recall a previous allegation of plagiarism involving a BC faculty member, it is a serious issue and we felt compelled to address it through a committee of senior faculty members," Neuhauser said.

Widely considered a leading expert on psychoanalysis, Fr. Meissner has authored more than 285 publications, including 27 books. A former clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and staff psychiatrist at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center, he joined the BC faculty in September of 1987 with the title of university professor of psychoanalysis, the first time a university without a medical school had established such a position. -Public Affairs staff

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