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Columbia DEI Chief Accused of Plagiarism

A 50-page anonymous complaint accuses the chief diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) officer at Columbia University’s medical school of plagiarizing from Wikipedia and other sources for his doctoral dissertation. 

The allegations against Alade McKen claim that about one-fifth of his 163-page dissertation, submitted in 2021 to the Iowa State School of Education, contains among more than two of its pages a near-exact copy of Wikipedia’s entry on Afrocentric education, but the website is not cited anywhere in his paper, The Washington Free Beacon reported.  

The dissertation also uses paragraphs from African scholars such as Chika Ezeanya-Esiobu at the University of Rwanda, making just small changes to the wording. 

In other instances, some of the scholars whose work was used appear in McKen’s dissertation bibliography but not in the paper’s in-text citations, while other scholars were not cited, the complaint says. 

Columbia University and Iowa State have not commented on the allegation, but Ezeanya-Esiobu, one of the scholars whose work was allegedly used, told the Free Beacon that the passages it shared “can definitely be classified as plagiarism.”

McKen, whose certificate in diversity and inclusion is from Cornell University, is in charge of all DEI programs for the staff of Columbia University Irving Medical Center. The DEI initiatives include expedited hiring for minority scholars and antiracism training for Columbia’s faculty and admission officers. 

According to a fall announcement for his appointment, McKen also works with the university’s provost office, which oversees tenure decisions for the university and its medical school. 

His role as DEI chief was created in 2021, after he served as assistant dean of recruitment, diversity, and inclusion for Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture. 

The new position came while the university was working to address structural racism in healthcare through a 100-person task force at the four Columbia medical schools and its schools of public health, nursing, and dentistry. 

The complaint against McKen marks the third time in a month that an Ivy League School has been accused of plagiarism. The other complaints were levied at figures at Harvard’s diversity officer Sherri Ann Charleston and former university President Claudine Gay. 

Sandy Fitzgerald ✉

Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics. 


© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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