Harvard diversity chief accused of plagiarizing 40 times, taking credit for husband's work: Report

​Harvard University Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Sherri A. Charleston allegedly plagiarized several times during her academic career.

Harvard University Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Sherri A. Charleston is accused of plagiarizing large sections of text in some of her academic work, allegedly taking credit for work done by her husband, according to a report.

The Washington Free Beacon obtained a complaint that made 40 allegations of plagiarism over the course of Charleston’s academic career.

For example, in the Harvard diversity chief’s 2009 dissertation at the University of Michigan, Charleston allegedly either quoted or rephrased almost a dozen scholars and didn’t include proper attribution, according to the complaint.

According to the report, the complaint also cites her only peer-reviewed journal article, which was co-authored with her husband, LaVar Charleston.

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LaVar Charleston is the deputy vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In the peer-reviewed journal, the complaint alleges that the couple framed old material as new research. It was also co-authored by Jerlando Jackson, dean of Michigan State University’s College of Education.

According to the Free Beacon, the peer-reviewed journal article contained identical interview responses in a 2012 study by LaVar Charleston, suggesting new interviews weren’t conducted.

Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars, told the outlet “The 2014 paper appears to be entirely counterfeit.”

”This is research fraud pure and simple,” Wood added.

In one instance, Sherri A. Charleston lifted a sentence without quotation marks or a footnote from Eric Arnesen’s 1991 book Waterfront Workers of New Orleans: Race, Class, and Politics, 1863-1923.

Jason A. Newton, a spokesperson for Cambridge, Massachusetts institution, told The Harvard Crimson that the institution has a procedure for such allegations, but didn’t comment on the Free Beacon report.

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Harvard does ”not comment on individual cases or on the existence of investigations related to research misconduct allegations,” said Newton.

Newton said Charleston advanced Harvard’s “belief that everyone who comes to Harvard belongs at Harvard and, whether a student, faculty, staff member, or researcher, should have the opportunity to succeed.”

UW-Madison spokesperson Kelly Tyrrell told The Harvard Crimson it “takes all allegations of research misconduct seriously,” adding that its Office of Research Integrity “has initiated an assessment in response to the allegations.”