Columbia DEI Chief Is Accused of Plagiarizing Dissertation From Wikipedia


An official in command of range, fairness and inclusion at Columbia College’s Irving Medical Heart was accused this week of plagiarizing giant sections of his doctoral dissertation, in accordance with an nameless criticism filed with the college.

The 55-page criticism accused the official, Alade McKen, of copying materials in his 2021 dissertation at Iowa State College from greater than two dozen different students and from Wikipedia, which is written and edited by volunteers from most of the people.

The criticism was revealed on-line Thursday by The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative information web site that led a marketing campaign final 12 months towards the previous president of Harvard College, Claudine Homosexual. She resigned in January following accusations of plagiarism and after her response to antisemitism on campus was criticized.

Plagiarism allegations have rocked the world of elite academia in current months. They’ve usually had explicitly political overtones, with conservative critics leveling accusations towards left-leaning directors and a minimum of one high-profile accusation that has been portrayed as an act of liberal revenge.

The criticism revealed on-line on Thursday accused Mr. McKen of copying passages of his dissertation from the Wikipedia entry for “Afrocentric schooling” and from the revealed scholarship or the doctoral dissertations of a minimum of 28 folks.

“Is Alade McKen a plagiarist?” the nameless creator of the criticism wrote on the high of web page 1. “A small number of examples from his dissertation are included under to information your investigation.”

Mr. McKen didn’t reply to messages in search of touch upon Thursday. Angie Hunt, a spokeswoman for Iowa State College, mentioned the varsity had “obtained and is within the strategy of reviewing the criticism.”

“The college is dedicated to the very best moral requirements to make sure the integrity and public belief in analysis carried out at Iowa State,” Ms. Hunt mentioned in a press release.

Columbia declined to touch upon the case, saying in a press release that it doesn’t touch upon “the small print of particular person personnel issues.”

“Columbia College has clear requirements and insurance policies relating to tutorial ethics and integrity for all members of our neighborhood, together with college, and we take allegations about misconduct significantly,” the varsity mentioned.

The passages in Mr. McKen’s dissertation which might be in query have been largely copied verbatim from different students or from Wikipedia with solely small adjustments to grammar or verb tenses, in accordance with the criticism. The New York Occasions reviewed parts of the dissertation and the Wikipedia web page and located elements that gave the impression to be practically the identical.

“Woodson critiqued African Individuals’ schooling as ‘miseducation’ as a result of he held that it denigrated the black whereas glorifying the whites,” Mr. McKen wrote on web page 53 of his dissertation, referring to the influential Black scholar Dr. Carter G. Woodson. “For a lot of early Afrocentrists, the purpose was to interrupt what they noticed as a vicious cycle of the copy of black self-abnegation.”

Practically the identical phrase seems within the Wikipedia article for “Afrocentric schooling.” Mr. McKen appeared to have modified the order of some phrases and eliminated one hyphen.

“Woodson critiqued schooling of African Individuals as ‘mis-education’ as a result of he held that it denigrated the black whereas glorifying the white,” the Wikipedia article states. “For these early Afrocentrists, the purpose was to interrupt what they noticed as a vicious cycle of the copy of black self-abnegation.” The Occasions reviewed variations of the web page courting again to 2013 in a web based archive, and located equivalent language.

Mr. McKen is the third range administrator from an Ivy League college to be accused of plagiarism within the span of 1 month, following Sherri Ann Charleston and Shirley R. Greene, each at Harvard.

At Harvard, Dr. Homosexual resigned in January after greater than 40 situations of plagiarism have been uncovered in her tutorial work by an nameless tipster. These allegations started shortly after Dr. Homosexual survived an earlier marketing campaign to oust her over what critics referred to as her inadequate response to antisemitism after the Oct. 7 Hamas assault on Israel.

She had served as Harvard’s president — the primary Black lady within the function — for roughly six months.

Days later, an investigation by the information web site Enterprise Insider accused Neri Oxman, the spouse of one among Dr. Homosexual’s chief critics, the hedge fund billionaire Invoice Ackman, of plagiarizing parts of her doctoral dissertation from different students in addition to from Wikipedia.

Ms. Oxman later apologized for what she referred to as “errors” in a put up on Twitter. Mr. Ackman mentioned he believed the allegations towards his spouse have been retribution for his advocacy for Dr. Homosexual’s ouster, which he described as “my actions to handle issues in larger schooling.”

Mr. McKen started his job at Columbia College Irving Medical Heart, which incorporates the college’s medical faculty, in September 2023. Earlier than that, he was the assistant dean of recruitment, range, and inclusion on the Columbia College Graduate Faculty of Structure, Planning and Preservation, in accordance with a college profile.

Along with his doctoral diploma in schooling, social and cultural research from Iowa State, Mr. McKen obtained a grasp’s diploma in larger schooling administration from Baruch School and a range and inclusion certificates from Cornell College, the profile mentioned.

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