Duke Commencement Speaker Is ‘Mortified and Embarrassed’ After Similarities in Speech Spark Probe

Omar Abdel-Baqui:

A Duke University student said she is taking “full responsibility” for parts of her commencement speech that included passages similar to those in a Harvard University graduation speech years ago, prompting a university probe.

Undergraduate commencement speaker Priya Parkash spoke to her fellow classmates at Duke’s graduation ceremony on Sunday. The following day the Duke Chronicle—the university’s student newspaper—reported that several passages of Ms. Parkash’s speech were similar to that of a Harvard speech in 2014 given by then-student Sarah Abushaar.

Duke is investigating the matter, a spokesman said. Ms. Parkash said she would fully cooperate with the university’s probe.

She said she incorporated ideas for passages provided by friends without researching if they had been used previously. Ms. Parkash said she didn’t find out until the day after the speech that those passages had come from the speech given at Harvard, which she said she hadn’t previously seen.