Weeks after the resignation of Harvard President Claudine Gay over a plagiarism scandal, the university’s chief diversity and inclusion officer, Sherri Ann Charleston, has been accused of doing the same.
According to a Monday complaint filed with the university, as well as an analysis by the Washington Free Beacon‘s Aaron Sibarium, large portions of Charleston’s work very clearly appears to have been lifted from others without so much as quotation marks. She even took credit for her own husband’s work, according to the report.
The complaint makes 40 allegations of plagiarism that span the entirety of Charleston’s thin publication record.In her 2009 dissertation, submitted to the University of Michigan, Charleston quotes or paraphrases nearly a dozen scholars without proper attribution, the complaint alleges. And in her sole peer-reviewed journal article—coauthored with her husband, LaVar Charleston, in 2014—the couple recycle much of a 2012 study published by LaVar Charleston, the deputy vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, framing the old material as new research.
Through that sleight of hand, Sherri Ann Charleston effectively took credit for her husband’s work. The 2014 paper, which was also coauthored with Jerlando Jackson, now the dean of Michigan State University’s College of Education, and appeared in the Journal of Negro Education, has the same methods, findings, and description of survey subjects as the 2012 study, which involved interviews with black computer science students and was first published by the Journal of Diversity in Higher Education. –Free Beacon“The 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.
“This is research fraud pure and simple.”
Prior to joining Harvard in August 2020, Charleston was the chief affirmative action officer at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After joining Harvard, she served on the staff advisory committee which helped choose Claudine Gay as president in December 2022, the Harvard Crimson reports. Charleston taught gender studies courses at the University of Wisconsin, while her bio describes her as “one of the nation’s leading experts in diversity” whose work involves “translating diversity and inclusion research into practice for students, staff, researchers, postdoctoral fellows and faculty of color.”
It apparently also includes copious use of ‘ctrl-c’ and ‘ctrl-v.’
“Sherri Charleston appears to have used somebody else’s research without proper attribution,” said former Villanova University political theory professor, Steve McGuire, who reviewed two of Charleston’s papers, the Beacon reports.