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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

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