Columbia University Hospital DEI Chief Accused Of Plagiarizing Wikipedia, 27 Others In Dissertation

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by Tyler Durden
Friday, Mar 01, 2024 - 02:45 PM

In the continuation of a trend rocking "elite" institutions, Columbia University Medical Center's chief diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) officer has been accused of massive plagiarism in his doctoral dissertation -- to include copying content from Wikipedia and poaching the work of 27 other writers.   

The accusations against Alade McKen came via a 55-page complaint anonymously submitted to the New York City Ivy League school this week and first published online by Washington Free Beacon. McKen's dissertation was submitted in 2021at the Iowa State University School of Education. It's title: "UBUNTU I am because we are: A case study examining the experiences of an African-centered Rites of Passage program within a community-based organization."  

McKen has spent 18 years in "multicultural affairs, civic engagement and social justice initiatives," according to a Columbia profile 

McKen took his post at Columbia in September. The job was created in 2021 as part of a Columbia quest to vanquish "structural racism" in health care. Just two weeks ago, McKen was quoted in a university profile as declaring that "everyone" in the DEI office is "committed to doing the work."

Maybe the work of setting race relations back decades by imposing counterproductive DEI doctrine on Columbia Medical Center, but apparently not the work of doctoral dissertations. 

The Beacon reports that the apparently plagiarized content represents about a fifth of McKen's 163-page PhD dissertation. More than two pages are essentially identical to content on a Wikipedia page on Afrocentric education. Other passages reproduce the work of African academics.

To take one small example, here's Chika Ezeanya-Esiobu of the University of Rwanda: 

Several studies have established that contrary to widespread beliefs, formal, and informal education were actively in existence in Africa prior to the commencement of colonialism. At the formal, nonformal and informal levels, Africans in various parts of the continent were consistently involved in the business of transmitting knowledge to the younger generation.

And here's McKen, with the few tweaks that differ from Ezeanya-Esiobu bolded and underlined: 

Several studies have established that contrary to widespread beliefs, formal and informal education was actively in Africa's existence before colonialism's commencement. At the formal, nonformal, and informal levels, Africans in various parts of the continent were consistently transmitting knowledge to the younger generation. 

While, Columbia and McKen declined to comment to the New York Times, a spokeswoman for Iowa State told the Times that the school "is in the process of reviewing the complaint" and "is committed to the highest ethical standards to ensure...public trust" in research at the university. 

Harvard President Claudine Gay resigned after plagiarism was discovered in her works -- at the same time she was under fire for allegedly tolerating an antisemitic climate at the school

The Columbia case extends a steady drumbeat of plagiarism allegations leveled against Ivy League officers. In the most high-profile of those cases, Harvard University president Claudine Gay resigned in January after anonymous complaints that she'd committed plagiarism some 50 times across eight different works, including her doctoral dissertation and published articles. As with Columbia's McKen, the unsigned Gay accusations were also first posted by Free Beacon. Gay had already been under fire for her response to allegations of antisemitism on the Harvard campus, and her performance in a congressional hearing on that topic. 

Harvard's Shirley Greene and Sherri Ann Charleston were both accused of plagiarism in recent weeks 

Two other Harvard officials have also come under fire for presenting other people's writing as their own. Harvard's chief DEI officer, Sherri Ann Charleston, was last month accused of 40 acts of plagiarism, including taking credit for her own husband's work.  "[Her] 2014 paper appears to be entirely counterfeit," said Peter Wood, the head of the National Association of Scholars and a former associate provost at Boston University. That anonymous complaint was first posted at -- you guessed it -- the Free Beacon

Last week, the City Journal reported on a plagiarism complaint against Harvard Extension School's Title IX coordinator in the Office for Gender Equity. Shirley Greene was accused of including more than 40 plagiarized passages in her dissertation.