Thursday, October 07, 2004

Crimson Staff's Response re. Ogletree Comments

Dear Professor Velvel:

Thank you for allowing us to respond to Professor Ogletree's allegations that we took his remarks out of context in our Sept. 27, 2004 news article. We believe that Professor Ogletree is mistaken in his recollection of our conversation.

At 2pm on Sunday, Sept. 26, we reached Professor Ogletree on his cell phone with the hopes of discussing The Weekly Standard's recent charges of plagiarism against Professor Tribe. We asked him two questions. First, we asked Professor Ogletree if he had seen The Standard's article accusing Professor Tribe of plagiarism. He said he had. Second, we said: "Do you think it rises to plagiarism?" His response--which we read back to him to verify--was: "It's nonsense, and Professor Tribe's rebuttals over the decades have made that clear." Professor Ogletree added that he would not comment further.

Professor Ogletree wrote that we had asked him to evaluate "the claim that Professor Tribe would NOT respond to the charges." We never made such a claim. We had left a message on Professor Tribe's home answering machine less than one hour earlier, and we had sent Professor Tribe an e-mail requesting comment just 10 minutes earlier. We expected his reply.

We were, however, perplexed by Professor Ogletree's referrence to "Tribe's rebuttals over the decades." Consequently, we called Professor Ogletree's cell phone again. We left him a message repeating his quote and asking him to explain what the second part meant. Had we been so negligent in our background research to have missed "Tribe's rebuttals over the decades"? Professor Ogletree did not respond to that message. Without further explanation from Professor Ogletree, we could not print the second part of his quote. We printed Professor Ogletree's confirmed, unambiguous assertion that The Standard's charges were "nonsense."

We are surprised that Professor Ogletree did not come to us with his concerns about the article. We feel that it would have been more appropriate for him to contact us before publicizing his objections. We have written to Professor Ogletree asking that he discuss the issue with us, but he has yet to respond. While we would prefer that this dispute be resolved in private, we feel that we must correct Professor Ogletree's inaccurate portrayal of our Sept. 26 conversation.


Daniel Hemel
Crimson Staff Writer

Lauren Schuker
Crimson Staff Writer

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