Petition Opposes Arianna Huffington's Visit to UVa

University of Virginia students are getting help prepping for exams. Spiritualist Deepak Chopra, and "Huffington Post" editor-in-chief Arianna Huffington will led a meditation session on Tuesday, but not everyone is happy about Huffington's appearance on grounds.

Some students and faculty have signed a petition requesting Huffington's invitation be rescinded over allegations she plagiarized the work of a late U.Va. professor. The online petition was created by former U.Va. grad student Kimberlee Cloutier-Blazzard. In the petition Blazzard requests Huffington be uninvited to grounds in honor of Dr. Lydia Csato Gasman.

Gasman taught in the McIntire Department of Art and Art History at U.Va. for more than 20 years. The petition alleges that Huffington's 1988 biography of Picasso, "Picasso: Creator and Destroyer" heavily lifted from Gasman's thesis on the painter's work and relationships. According to a 1994 "Vanity Fair" article, Gasman was upset Huffington did not give her full credit for her work. The article says Huffington offered to pay Gasman, but Huffington denies the claim. The article quotes Gasman as calling Huffington "an intellectual kleptomaniac."

Many of Gasman's former students have sent letters to university President Teresa Sullivan about Huffington's appearance on grounds. The author of the petition hoped to gain 1,000 signatures, but only had 63 signatures on Tuesday morning.

Chopra and Huffington's visit is part of U.Va.'s Contemplative Sciences Center. The center's director hopes students will benefit from the positive effects of meditation during the stressful exam time.


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