Fourth Black Harvard Scholar Charged with Plagiarism in Attack on DEI Initiatives | News - Wishevoke

Fourth Black Harvard Scholar Charged with Plagiarism in Attack on DEI Initiatives | News

Christina J. Cross, an assistant professor of sociology at Harvard University, was accused of plagiarism in an anonymous complaint to Harvard’s Office of Research Integrity, conservative activist Christopher F. Rufo reported in City Journal – the fourth black woman at Harvard to take on Racial or social justice concerns and accused of plagiarism.

The allegations against Cross are the fourth in a rapid series of anonymous plagiarism complaints of varying severity filed against black women at Harvard amid a growing right-wing attack on diversity, equity and inclusion in higher education.

Cross follows the former Harvard president Claudine Gay; Sherri A. Charleston, Harvard’s chief diversity and inclusion officer; And Shirley R. Greenea Title IX coordinator at Harvard Extension School, all of whom have faced plagiarism allegations since December.

Although the allegations against Cross are the weakest of the four, said plagiarism expert Jonathan Bailey, Rufo’s posts on X have received more than a million views and were amplified by X owner Elon Musk.

In a series of posts on X Wednesday and Thursday, Rufo linked the pattern of allegations — which he has largely amplified — to his broader crusade against diversity, equity and inclusion efforts at Harvard and across higher education. He also pointed out that Black scholars who study race and diversity may be more likely to plagiarize.

The allegations against Cross include 11 instances in her dissertation and five instances in a 2018 article in the journal Population Studies in which she is accused of adopting the language of other scientists. These cases include descriptions of datasets and methods, as well as instances where Cross uses the same language as scientists she cites but does not cite.

Bailey disputed Rufo’s assessment of the seriousness of the allegations against Cross, writing in an email to The Crimson that he believed they were “the weakest allegations to date.”

“Where I have previously said that there are problems but that they have been exaggerated, I see no evidence of a problem here,” wrote Bailey, who runs the blog Plagiarism Today and previously reviewed the allegations against Greene at The Crimson’s inquiry.

Rufo wrote in his City Journal article that Cross violated Harvard’s online guide, “Guide to Using Sources,” which states that material from another source should either be paraphrased and quoted or quoted directly. The complaint contained five excerpts in which Cross used identical wording when quoting, but did not use quotation marks.

Bailey wrote that four cases in which Cross’ description of data and methods overlapped with those of other unsourced scientists could be potentially problematic, but added that “there is a good chance that the overlaps can be explained in other ways.” .”

“This does not even warrant correction, let alone retraction or dismissal,” Bailey added.

The other cases, Bailey wrote, were “relatively meaningless overlaps that would probably not be noticed by a neutral plagiarism analysis.”

Both Cross and the editorial board of Population Studies did not respond to requests for comment.

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“Let’s not ignore the pattern: This is the fourth Black CRT/DEI scientist accused of plagiarism at Harvard,” Rufo wrote in a post, referring to a legal school of thought known as critical race theory. “We need further research, including a control group of more stringent areas, but early reports suggest there is a lot of fraud in the grievance disciplines.”

“One of my sources examined white social justice scholars at Harvard but found no plagiarism in their work,” he added in a separate post. “This is neither dispositive nor a large-scale survey, but the initial result suggests the strong possibility of behavioral inequality, i.e. copy-pasting.”

Rufo has provided no evidence to support these claims.

Three scholars who accused Cross of plagiarizing denied the allegations in emails to The Crimson.

Three of the allegations against Cross involved excerpts from an article by Stacey J. Bosick, who currently serves as associate vice president for academic affairs at Sonoma State University, and University of Pennsylvania sociology professor Paula W. Fomby.

Bosick wrote to The Crimson that she was “not concerned that groundbreaking ideas have been stolen here,” but rather that she was “more concerned about the disproportionate policing of black science.”

Fomby, who served on Cross’s doctoral committee at the University of Michigan, also wrote that she was “not troubled by the overlap.”

“In fact, it would be unusual for a researcher to cite another researcher’s description of a public dataset,” Fomby wrote in an email.

The complaint also noted that Cross copied a description of the survey questions from a study by Ann W. Nguyen, a professor at Case Western Reserve University.

“After careful consideration of the claims suggesting that Dr Art’s work the standard description of the data and variables within the data set will be used.”

The survey’s questions were taken from a “publicly available, national survey” – the National Survey of American Life, conducted by the University of Michigan – and not from research by Nguyen’s team, she emphasized.

In an emailed statement, Holly J. Jensen, spokeswoman for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, wrote that Harvard “has procedures in place” to respond to allegations of research misconduct, but suggested that Cross’ dissertation, completed at the University of Michigan would not fall under Harvard’s purview.

University of Michigan spokeswoman Kim Broekhuizen wrote in an email: “It is the university’s policy not to confirm or deny the existence of an investigation.” She referred The Crimson to a public statement released Feb. 20, in which the school’s commitment to ethical research behavior was reaffirmed.

In an interview, Bailey said he was concerned that the recent spate of allegations represented the “weaponization of plagiarism” to score political points – rather than to address serious concerns about scientific misconduct.

“Plagiarism allegations are not about addressing issues of academic or scientific integrity, but rather about addressing political or social grievances that a person may have,” Bailey said.

“The focus is not on the cases that actually have an impact on science and academia,” but on those “that are cases of political expediency,” he added.

–Staff writer Tilly R. Robinson can be reached at Tilly.robinson@thecrimson.com. Follow her on X @tillyrobin.

—Staff writer Neil H. Shah can be reached at neil.shah@thecrimson.com. Follow him on X @neilhshah15.

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