Two DEI deans at elitist MIT accused of being serial plagiarists

The “Didn’t Earn It” hall of shame gained two new nominees as a report singled out the latest elite university to get snared by allegations of plagiarism.

Policies and programs meant to deter faults in academic integrity at universities have appeared increasingly outside of the concern of hiring managers for those same institutions. Now, according to a 71-page complaint, the likes of since-resigned Harvard President Claudine Gay and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) officials at other schools could count at least two of six DEI deans from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) among accused plagiarists.

Detailed by The Washington Free Beacon reporter Aaron Sibarium, MIT’s deputy “equity officer” Tracie Jones-Barrett and since departed diversity czar for the school’s Schwarzman College of Computing had both been hired in June 2021 as deans to fulfill a “DEI Strategic Action Plan.”

A thread from Sibarium on X broke down the complaint and began, “In 2021, MIT hired six high-level DEI officials. Two of them now appear to be serial plagiarists. One official, Tracie Jones-Barrett, copied an entire section on ‘ethical considerations’ from a classmate in her Ph.D program. Her dissertation’s title? ‘Cite A Sista.'”

A close look at the dissertation showed near matches between her 2023 work and others, including the 2020 work of a peer from Northeastern University’s Graduate School of Education, Emmitt Wyche III. She was also said to have pilfered content from Northeastern Ph.D. recipient Scott Fitzsimmons.

Meanwhile Anderson, who departed the school in 2023 to join the Boston Beer Company, was alleged to be caught similarly red-highlighted when her 2017 dissertation “#BLACKONCAMPUS: A Critical Examination of Racial and Gender Performances of Black College Women on Social Media” had swaths matching the work of Pillar College professor of counseling Mark Chae, Harvard Graduate School of Education professor Jarvis Givens and Indiana University-Purdue diversity official Khalilah Shabazz.

Reacting to the complaint, Chae told the Beacon, “It would have been nice to at least get a citation! Anderson seems quite comfortable in taking credit for large portions of another writer’s scholarly work.”

Much like Harvard’s policy which led to the resignation of Gay no matter corporate media’s attempt to spin outrage over the allegations as a “new conservative weapon,” the plagiarism policy for MIT states, “If you use the words, ideas, or phrasing of another person or from published material, you must…Use quotation marks around the words and cite the source, or…Paraphrase or summarize acceptably and cite the source.”

“You must always acknowledge your sources by citing them,” it continued. “In this way, you have the right to use another’s creative output by giving that person credit for the work s/he has done.”

The complaint against the DEI officials came only days after it was announced that MIT would be doing away with requiring a DEI statement for faculty applications.

University President Sally Kornbluth had said in a statement, “We can build an inclusive environment in many ways, but compelled statements impinge on freedom of expression, and they don’t work.”

While statements from MIT, Northeastern and Boston College, Anderson’s alma mater, had not been provided to the Beacon regarding the complaint, Sibarium went on to note, “In total, the two diversity deans lifted about 10 full pages of material without attribution, according to the complaint, as well as dozens of shorter passages sprinkled throughout their theses,” as ample derision was piled atop the state of higher education.

Kevin Haggerty

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