Harvard Chief Diversity Officer Hit With New Plagiarism Charges

More trouble for embattled Harvard University came Monday with the filing of a new complaint alleging yet another plagiarism scandal. This time the suspect is Sherri Ann Charleston, the school’s chief diversity and inclusion officer.

The complaint and an analysis by the Washington Free Beacon charged Charleston copied significant portions of her limited academic work without quotations or proper citations.

She is also accused of taking credit for research undertaken by another scholar — her husband.

The complaint further alleged that Charleston’s 2009 dissertation with the University of Michigan borrowed heavily from almost a dozen other writers.

Further, her single peer-reviewed and published article was co-authored with her husband, LaVar Charleston. The allegations charged the piece was essentially a rehash of a 2012 study that he conducted.

This, the complaint alleged, resulted in Sherri Ann Charleston effectively taking credit for his prior work. Co-authored also by Jerlando Jackson, the writing appeared in the Journal of Negro Education.

The separate papers cited identical responses from students interviewed by researchers. The complaint said this suggested there were no new interviews conducted for the second published work, the only one credited to the Harvard diversity officer.

All of this followed the plagiarism scandal that ultimately led to the resignation of Harvard President Claudine Gay. She was accused of blatantly lifting the work of others in almost 50 of her articles.

According to the Free Beacon, this accounted for “half of Gay’s published works.”

The former president was also under intense pressure for her handling of rampant antisemitism on campus following the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attack on Israel. Addressing Congress, Gay appeared to excuse calls for the extermination of Jews.

Harvard’s own investigation found multiple incidents of “duplicative language,” though the school stopped short of calling her plagiarism “intentional or reckless.”

Her resignation in early January came just six months after becoming Harvard’s first Black president.

Plagiarism is seen by many as the “third rail” in higher education, and many leaders have been brought down by assuming the words of others. Since 2021, Stanford University’s president and a president of the University of South Carolina resigned while facing similar allegations.

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