Hornstine `Uninvited` to Harvard

by Copyright 2003 NBC 10. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. | Jul 11, 2003
Hornstine `Uninvited` to Harvard A New Jersey student who sued successfully to be the sole valedictorian of her high school has been disinvited from attending Harvard University for plagiarism, according to a published report.

Citing an unnamed source involved with the decision, The Harvard Crimson reported for Friday's edition that the Ivy League school decided not to welcome Blair Hornstine into its class of 2007.

Harvard spokesman Robert Mitchell said the university would not comment on any application to the school.

Director of Undergraduate Admissions Marlyn McGrath Lewis told the Crimson that it would be unusual for Harvard not to rescind the admission of a student caught plagiarizing. Lewis would not comment on Hornstine's case, however. Calls to Hornstine's father, a New Jersey Superior Court judge in Camden, her lawyer and a second lawyer who has served as her spokesman were not immediately returned Friday morning.

Nearly 2,700 people signed an online petition calling for Harvard to rescind Hornstine's acceptance. The petition drive began before news broke about possible plagiarism by Hornstine in a southern New Jersey newspaper.

In a column published last month by the Courier-Post of Cherry Hill, Hornstine conceded she didn't properly attribute material she used in a teen page commentary column.

Hornstine, a student with near-perfect grades and a near-perfect SAT score, had gotten attention from President Bush, among others, for her good works in the community.

She attracted national media attention in May, when she sued the public school system in Moorestown, the wealthy Philadelphia suburb where she lives.

Hornstine suffers from an immune deficiency, and during her last two years of high school received much of her instruction from tutors at her home and was exempted from classes such as physical education.

Though she had the highest grades in her class, the school administration wanted her to share the valedictorian title with another student.

She sued in federal court to be the only valedictorian -- and she won based on a discrimination complaint.

She also sued in state court, seeking $2.7 million in punitive and compensatory damages. That case has not been resolved.

Hornstine returned to the news when the Courier-Post published her explanation of her failure to properly attribute material for columns and essays in newspaper-sponsored contests.

The writings appeared to borrow themes, structures and, in several cases, lengthy verbatim passages from sources ranging from a U.S. Supreme Court ruling and presidential proclamation to foreign affairs analysis.

School officials in Moorestown have said they were reviewing Hornstine's school work to see if any of it was plagiarized.

She skipped her school's graduation ceremony last month.

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Author: Copyright 2003 by NBC 10. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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