Associated Press. "Degree Stripped," Leader-Herald, Gloversville-Johnstown, New York, 30

 

Associated Press. "Degree Stripped," Leader-Herald, Gloversville-Johnstown, New York, 30
September 1983, p. 1.

I here just repeat the terse announcement which appeared on the front page of this paper:
"Syracuse, N.Y. (AP) For only the second time in its 113-year history, Syracuse University has
stripped a doctorate degree from a former student, a university spokeswoman announced. The
University Senate, composed of faculty members, this week removed a Ph.D. in anthropology
from Steven Gratch, of Chicago. The senate said Gratch used a 107-page thesis of a professor
now at Villanova University word-for-word as part of his doctoral thesis. Gratch was given his
Ph.D. in 1976. After an investigation, the senate determined Gratch had copied Donna Shai's
1970 research paper on Iraqi immigration into Israel."

The same item was repeated the next day, in the New York Times. I looked for more material in
print but could not find any. I asked Paul Meadows if he would contact some people at Syracuse
to see if more could be learned about the case. I learned from him that when the degree was
recalled, someone called the Gratch household to let him know of the Senate's action.
Reportedly, his wife responded that it didn't matter to Steve or to her any more because "He's
not in academe any longer."

I asked Walter Zenner, anthropologist, if he knew about the case. He shared with me the
mechanisms of discovery, how the plagiary came out: it seems when Shai wrote that paper she
was relatively unknown; but since then she has become something of a Big Name. Her work is
well known in the field. The President of the Israeli Anthropological Society was, of course,
familiar with Shai's work and he had also read Gratch's dissertation. He noted the similarity and
called it to the attention of the University.