By now, Blair Hornstine expected to be packing her bags for Harvard, where she was in the class of 2007. But the 18-year-old from Moorestown, N.J., is making other plans. The Harvard Crimson reported last week that the school had rescinded Hornstine's acceptance after learning that she had used unattributed text from other authors in columns for a local paper. Hornstine drew national headlines this spring when she sued her high school because officials wanted her to share the valedictorian title. She won, but the popular backlash against her was so severe that she didn't attend graduation. Students at Moorestown and Harvard scorned her as a whiny brat who got special treatment because of a medical disability that causes chronic fatigue.
Hornstine's lawyer, Edwin Jacobs Jr., says the rejection was mutual. "Blair had decided to tender a withdrawal of her application simply because of the rabid, negative publicity on that campus," he says. Harvard won't comment, but accepted students are always told that admission can be revoked for behavior that questions "honesty, maturity or moral character." Rutgers professor Donald McCabe, an expert on student cheating, says that Harvard did the right thing: "She violated a standard the university is trying to enforce." Current students caught plagiarizing are "ordinarily required to withdraw," according to the student handbook. At the moment, Hornstine is taking college classes (at an undisclosed campus) and figuring out her next move. "Blair has been exploring other alternatives, namely campuses less hostile than Harvard," says Jacobs. No matter where she goes, she's already earned a degree from the school for scandal.