IU South Bend professor vindicated in raising plagiarism concerns

Dr. Mark Fox and Peter Aghimien

An I.U. South Bend professor has been vindicated in the courts after being sued for defamation by a college colleague.

The case went all the way to Indiana’s Court of Appeals and Dr. Mark Fox said it should serve as a “wake up call” to universities that whistle blowers should not be muzzled from making public allegations of plagiarism.

Dr. Fox was critical of the work of Peter Aghimien, Professor and Chair of Accounting at the Leighton School of Business and Economics at I.U. South Bend. The criticism included allegations of faculty misconduct through blogs and emails.

The courts found that such criticism was not falsely or recklessly made, and that such communication was important and necessary to address matters of public concern.

In a written statement provided to NewsCenter 16, Fox wrote: “I have spent the best part of the last five years dealing with the IU research integrity process and with the Aghimiens meritless lawsuit. I am thankful to finally be vindicated by the courts and gratified by the support I have received from many colleagues. I wish that I had received more support from IU and its Research Integrity Office, and I hope IU provides more support to those raising valid claims of plagiarism in the future. Otherwise, those having good-faith claims of plagiarism may remain silent, which would be harmful to institutions of higher learning like IU."