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Last updated 7:53PM ET
March 6, 2021
Panel Will Review Possible Plagiarism By JSU President
(APR - Alabama Public Radio ) - The president of Jacksonville State University has formed a task force to review possible plagiarism in newspaper columns appearing with his name as author.

"This is something I feel is important to the integrity of the university's communication," President William Meehan said.

The Anniston Star has reported that three of Meehan's columns in The Jacksonville News in the past six weeks contain content identical to that found on two Web sites. All the columns had Meehan's byline, but Meehan's columns have been ghostwritten since 2000 by Al Harris, who retired in January as director of the university's new bureau. Harris continued to work part time until recently.

Harris wrote a letter to The Anniston Star on Thursday saying he suffers from spinal cervical stinosis and diabetic neuropathy and that those conditions impaired his ability to write.

Members of the Integrity in Communications Committee appointed by Meehan are Sam Monk, a retired circuit judge; Glen Browder, a former congressman who previously taught at Jacksonville State; Chris Waddle, president of the Ayers Institute for Community Journalism and a former editor of The Star; Felicia Mason, executive director of the Alabama Press Association; and Michael Malone, former executive director of the Alabama Commission on Higher Education.

The Jacksonville News is owned by the same company that publishes The Star.

John Alred, news editor of the News, said he is looking through Meehan's past "Town and Gown" columns, but he hopes to keep running the column.

"Dr. Meehan and his column have been very popular in our newspaper, and we don't want to lose it," he said.
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