Columbia Medical Diversity Officer Is Caught for Plagiarism

According to a complaint, Alade McKen, a chief diversity officer at Columbia University’s medical school, allegedly plagiarized large portions of his doctoral thesis from Wikipedia and other sources.

Alade McKen is the most recent administrator from an Ivy League university to face plagiarism charges, after the resignation of Harvard University President Claudine Gay.

McKen “plagiarized extensively in his doctoral dissertation, lifting entire pages of material, without attribution, from sources that include Wikipedia,” per a report by The Washington Free Beacon report. The complaint was submitted to the university.

The Free Beacon reported the following:

The allegations implicate approximately a fifth of McKen’s 163-page dissertation, “‘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,” submitted to Iowa State University’s School of Education in 2021. More than two of those pages are a near-verbatim facsimile of Wikipedia’s entry on “Afrocentric education,” which is not cited anywhere in the dissertation.

“Other pages lift paragraphs from well-known African scholars, including the University of Rwanda’s Chika Ezeanya-Esiobu, while making small tweaks to their prose, such as reordering certain clauses or changing a ‘were’ to a ‘was.’” the Free Beacon report added.

Ezeanya-Esiobu believes the copied portions of the paragraphs constitute plagiarism.

“The passages you shared can definitely be classified as plagiarism,” the professor said to the Free Beacon.

McKen has a 202-word section that almost mirrors a text Ezeanya-Esiobu wrote, with a few changes, such as swapping “which” to “that.” McKen did not even bother to feature 

Ezeanya-Esiobu’s work in the bibliography or citations throughout the text. McKen assumed his most recent role in September 2023. In his  previous role, McKen worked as “assistant dean of recruitment, diversity, and inclusion for the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation,” per a university news release.

The College Fix called attention to how the medical school supposedly has strong anti-plagiarism standards. 

Medical students “may not cheat, plagiarize, use unauthorized materials, misrepresent their work, paraphrase an author’s ideas or work without proper citation, falsify data or assist others in the commission of these acts,” the university’s “Plagiarism and Misrepresentation” page highlights.

“Student work should be original and may not be copied and pasted without attribution,” the university made clear.

“This applies to admission notes, progress notes, discharge summaries, written papers, scholarly work and personal statements for residency.”

Plagiarism is one of the side effects of diversity hires. When unqualified candidates are hired to certain prestigious positions or make-work roles, one can only expect shoddy work. 

Even worse, in critical roles of everyday life, an unqualified worker could make situations become deadly. 

Scrapping affirmative action and other racially preferential hiring policies is of the essence if we want any semblance of competency and socio-economic stability to be kept in the US.

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