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University president apologizes for plagiarizing McRaven quotes in speech, resigns

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The University of South Carolina accepted the resignation of Bob Caslen this week after the embattled former leader of the school admitted he plagiarized part of a commencement speech.

The school announced Wednesday that the chairman of its board of trustees had accepted Bob Caslen’s resignation, according to reports. Former President Harris Pastides will serve as interim president of the university while school officials search for a permanent president. 

In a letter this week to students and staff, Caslan said he was “truly sorry” for sharing a quote from Admiral William McRaven, who oversaw the successful raid that targeted and killed Osama bin Laden. 

The quote from McRaven comes from his now-famous speech to graduates at the University of Texas in 2014. Caslen acknowledged that he delivered two paragraphs without attribution during the Friday address. 

“I was searching for words about resilience in adversity and when they were transcribed into the speech, I failed to ensure its attribution. I take full responsibility for this oversight,” he wrote in the letter. 

Caslen during the address also misidentified the school, congratulating “University of California” graduates instead of South Carolina.

The university board last weekend refused Caslen’s verbal offer of resignation, according to ABC News.

Caslen faced criticism in 2019 when he was hired as president of the school by university trustees. Some students and faculty raised that the retired general and U.S. Military Academy superintendent lacked qualifications for the top university role, such as research credentials and a doctoral degree. 

The Hill has reached out to the University of South Carolina for comment.

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