Skip to main content

The Whitaker/plagiarism matter



In July, I wrote here about public exposure of the plagiarism of Matthew Whitaker, which that month led to Whitaker's demotion from full professor to associate professor.

Whitaker had been a rising star in the world of Black Studies, for example as the author of PEACE BE STILL, a history of African-Americans since 1945. But large chunks of that book turn out to come from such unacknowledged sources as the Archive of American Television.

I quoted the AAT lifting last time I discussed this case. Another quite blatant example involves an edited collection of writings on African American Icons of Sports. Whitaker was the editor. As is the case with many editors of such works, he also included some work of his own. Or that he presented as his own, anyway. And that material came largely from wikipedia. Plagiarizing from such a widely used and easily accessible source just seems stupid but, hey, it's done.

The new news: Whitaker isn't going to get away with a mere demotion.  Arizona State University is firing him outright, though that takes some work given his tenured status. For the moment, he has been "relieved of all duties."

The  catalyst for this development was a side gig of his, a consultancy in racial sensitivity into which he had entered with the Phoenix Police Department. He plagiarized in the creation of the course materials for that course, too, lifting materials without attribution from the Chicago Police Department.

I have nothing more to say about this -- I just wanted to keep you folks caught up. But I will offer a particular on that Icons of Sports thing I mentioned above, just to round this entry out a bit.

The following appeared in wikipedia, as of October 30, 2004:

 In Louisville on October 29, 1960 Cassius Clay won his first professional fight. He won a six round decision over Tunney Hunsaker who was the police chief of Fayetteville, West Virginia. From 1960 to 1963, the young fighter amassed a record of 19-0 with 15 knockouts. He defeated such boxers as Tony Esperti, Jim Robinson, Donnie Fleeman, Duke Sabedong, Alonzo Johnson, George Logan, Willi Besmanoff, and Lamar Clark (who had won his previous 40 bouts by knockout). Among Clay's more impressive victories were against Sonny Banks (who knocked him down earlier in the bout), Alejandro Lavorante and Archie Moore (a boxing legend who had won over 200 previous fights).

Whitaker wasn't the only or the first plagiarist of this. It shows up on several websites, including some of those that help lazy students cobble together term papers. So where exactly he got it can't be known. But in his 2008 publication, it appears as follows:


In Louisville on October 29, 1960, Cassius Clay won his first professional fight. The win was a six-round decision over Tunney Hunsaker, who was the police chief of Fayetteville, West Virginia. From 1960 to 1963, the young fighter amassed a record of 19-0, including 15 knockouts. The boxers he defeated included Tony Esperti, Jim Robinson, Donnie Fleeman, Alonzo Johnson, George Logan, Willi Besmanoff, Lamar Clark, Doug Jones, and Henry Cooper. Clay’s victories included Archie Moore, a boxing legend who fought over 200 previous fights....

Since your humble blogger does give credit to his sources: it is hereby acknowledged that this material comes from a fellow blogger, Ann Ribidoux, The Cabinet of Plagiarism, in material submitted to her by readers thereof. http://cabinetofplagiarism.blogspot.com/p/exhibit-e-reader-supplied.html

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

England as a Raft?

In a lecture delivered in 1880, William James asked rhetorically, "Would England ... be the drifting raft she is now in European affairs if a Frederic the Great had inherited her throne instead of a Victoria, and if Messrs Bentham, Mill, Cobden, and Bright had all been born in Prussia?"

Beneath that, in a collection of such lectures later published under James' direction, was placed the footnote, "The reader will remember when this was written."

The suggestion of the bit about Bentham, Mill, etc. is that the utilitarians as a school helped render England ineffective as a European power, a drifting raft.

The footnote was added in 1897. So either James is suggesting that the baleful influence of Bentham, Mill etc wore off in the meantime or that he had over-estimated it.

Let's unpack this a bit.  What was happening in the period before 1880 that made England seem a drifting raft in European affairs, to a friendly though foreign observer (to the older brother…

Cancer Breakthrough

Hopeful news in recent days about an old and dear desideratum: a cure for cancer. Or at least for a cancer, and a nasty one at that.

The news comes about because investors in GlaxoSmithKline are greedy for profits, and has already inspired a bit of deregulation to boot. 

The FDA has paved the road for a speedy review of a new BCMA drug for multiple myeloma, essentially cancer of the bone marrow. This means that the US govt has removed some of the hurdles that would otherwise (by decision of the same govt) face a company trying to proceed with these trials expeditiously. 

This has been done because the Phase I clinical trial results have been very promising. The report I've seen indicates that details of these results will be shared with the world on Dec. 11 at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology. 

The European Medicines Agency has also given priority treatment to the drug in question. 

GSK's website identifies the drug at issue as "GSK2857916," althou…

Francesco Orsi

I thought briefly that I had found a contemporary philosopher whose views on ethics and meta-ethics checked all four key boxes. An ally all down the line.

The four, as regular readers of this blog may remember, are: cognitivism, intuitionism, consequentialism, pluralism. These represent the views that, respectively: some ethical judgments constitute knowledge; one important source for this knowledge consists of quasi-sensory non-inferential primary recognitions ("intuitions"); the right is logically dependent upon the good; and there exists an irreducible plurality of good.

Francesco Orsi seemed to believe all of these propositions. Here's his website and a link to one relevant paper:

https://sites.google.com/site/francescoorsi1/

https://jhaponline.org/jhap/article/view/3

What was better: Orsi is a young man. Born in 1980. A damned child! Has no memories of the age of disco!

So I emailed him asking if I was right that he believed all of those things. His answer: three out of …