Florida State University Professor Leaves Lucrative Job After Accusations of Fudging Racial Data

Eric Stewart, a black criminology professor at Florida State University and fellow of the American Society of Criminology, resigned from his professorship on April 7, 2023 after accusations that he manipulated data with the aim of discovering racial discrimination whenever it didn’t exist. 

Stewart worked at FSU for 16 years and has been accused on multiple occasions for engaging in academic fraud. Six of his research studies have been retracted as a result of these allegations. 

These fraud accusations surfaced in 2019 and came from University of Albany professor Justin Picket, who was the co-author of a 2011 study with Stewart.

The study argued that as black and Hispanic populations grew in size, the American public pursued more discriminatory criminal sentences. Though Picket claims that the data did not show such a relationship. In fact, where Hispanics were studied, the data demonstrated the opposite effect. 

“Pickett found that their sample size somehow had increased from 500 to over 1,000 respondents, the counties polled had decreased from 326 to 91, and the data was altered to the point of mathematical impossibility,” the Standard reported. 

Pickett claimed that when he requested access to the original data, Stewart refused.

When FSU established a three-member inquiry committee to review allegations of academic fraud committed in five of his racism studies, Stewart said to school officials that the accusations Picket levied against him “essentially lynched me and my academic character.” 

In addition, he told the Washington Times that “data thugs are after me. It seems very personal. All of the blame is being directed at me.”

In 2020, the university was criticized for carrying out a flawed inquiry, where two of three people tasked with carrying out the investigation had been co-authors with Stewart. As a result, such an investigation on Stewart’s research brought forth allegations that there was a conflict of interest. 

Stewart’s initial accusations of racist motivations behind the investigation likely deterred the university from pursuing a full-fledged investigation. “The professor had already been working with the journal’s editors to address any questions they had about the work,” said Gary K. Ostrander, FSU’s vice president for research at the time, said.  

However, Pickett’s criticism of a sixth study in 2020 seems to have propelled Stewart’s abrupt departure from FSU. 

According to Tyler Durden of ZeroHedge, several pieces of Stewart’s racism research was funded by the federal government through grants from the National Science Foundation. 

“There’s a huge monetary incentive to falsify data and there’s no accountability,” Pickett said to the Standard. “If you do this, the probability you’ll get caught is so, so low.”  

Ultimately, conservatives must look at this case and start pre-emptively purging academics who engage in questionable academic behavior. This must become state policy if we want to rid academic institutions of leftism and other ideological currents that promote degeneracy.

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