Kansas City, Mo. A University of Missouri-Kansas City dean accused of plagiarism in a December 2003 commencement speech has been placed on administrative leave until the end of the year and will lose $29,000 from his annual salary at the school.
Bryan LeBeau, dean of the College of Arts and Scientists, acknowledged using unattributed comments from Princeton University professor Cornel West in a commencement address shortly after he joined the university. He apologized to West and the university, calling his failure to properly attribute the material a "stupid mistake."
Interim Chancellor Stephen Lehmkuhle told the school's faculty Friday of his decision to place LeBeau on leave. While on leave, LeBeau will perform the duties of a professor in the history department and his annual salary will be lowered from $157,500 to $128,500.
He will be on leave until Dec. 31, while UMKC investigates.
LeBeau, who acknowledged that he has put the university in a tough position, said he was comfortable with the decision.
An interim dean is expected to be named next week.
LeBeau's speech contained several passages that were almost identical to those in a commencement speech West gave in 1993, but were not attributed to West.
The opening of that same speech was nearly identical to the opening of a speech in 1995 given by writer Russell Baker.
Lehmkuhle, who met Thursday with arts and sciences professors in a closed-door session, thanked them Friday for speaking with him about the issue.
"Our shared commitment to academic integrity and to fairness has kept us on the right course; your dedication to uncompromising ethics of higher education has encouraged all of us during the past few difficult days," Lehmkuhle wrote in an e-mail message.