Three professors think so.
“Absolute, 100% straight-up plagiarism. I have nailed students for far more subtle cases,” said Justin Buchler, a political science professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. “If this went before an academic integrity board, there is no chance of the student escaping punishment.”
“If you were to feed this into a plagiarism checker, the level of similarity would come back with a score that would show you the sourcing was the same … if you look at the structure, if you look at the two paragraphs together,” he added.
Barbara Perry, director of presidential studies and co-chairwoman of the Presidential Oral History Program at the Miller Center at the University of Virginia, said this would earn one of her students a trip to the dean or academic honor board.
“If I were reading a student paper and two paragraphs were lifted almost verbatim, I would turn the student into the dean and then he or she would decide the student's fate in terms of the college," said Perry, who has been a professor for 30 years.
She said circumstances could be less severe if the student admitted fault, which is why she thinks it is strange that the Trump campaign won’t admit to the similarities.
Matt Sienkiewicz, who is an assistant professor of Communication and International Studies at Boston College, told USA TODAY he is more surprised that the Trump campaign has denied the similarities. “The Trump campaign (is) putting something right in front of our faces and telling us it’s not there, Sienkiewicz said. "To me the message is something along the lines of them believing they can simply shape reality in the image they want it to.”
Chris Harrick, vice president of marketing at Turnitin which is a program used to make students write better papers and can analyze plagiarism, said they analyzed the speeches and found that there was a 6% match when full speeches were compared side by side.
Within that 6% (roughly two paragraphs) Turnitin found two types of plagiarism: what they call "clone" which is exact word for word copying and "find and replace," which is where wording is the same except for certain words that have been eliminated or added.
Harrick said the chances of two separate people having the exact same copy is "I think greater than one in a trillion, so that’s super concerning."