Friday, July 3, 2015

Godot Takes a Bow

The first plagiarist whose wares the Cabinet displayed on its shelves, and the last one to have escaped all consequences for his actions, has at long last been caught out.  As of this week, Arizona State University's directory pages quietly list Professor Matthew Whitaker not as a Foundation Professor, nor even as a professor.  Instead, he is now that most thwarted of academic beasts, an associate professor.  The directory also, after some rapid back and forth, has revealed that a co-director will be appointed for the Center of the Study of Race and Democracy, which until now has been most assertively Professor Whitaker's sole domain. The Cabinet was at first tempted to use words such as "belated," and to ask wearily whether those who have been publicly accused of debased motives for pointing out Professor Whitaker's serial misconduct, will receive apologies. But there is no point to recriminations.  And make no mistake: this is a sharp and heavy blow.  For years, Professor Whitaker deflected all consequences for his misconduct onto the very people who sought to reveal it.  And then, at last, he no longer could.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Some do good, and some do well

Not the time for wit. No need for interpretation. The facts:

Dr. Matthew C. Whitaker has parlayed his standing as ASU Foundation Professor of History into a $268,800 no-bid contract -- with the possibility for a $96,000 extension -- with the City of Phoenix.

 Professor Whitaker will provide 448 hours of training in procedural justice, police legitimacy, and cultural competency, and an additional 448 hours of evaluation in those matters, to Phoenix' 2900 police officers.  He will do this between July of 2015 and April of 2016, through his consulting firm, while he continues to collect his salary as a full-time professor of history at Arizona State University (whose rules state that employees may do no more than 384 hours per year of outside work).

Professor Whitaker will "plan and execute" this training despite the fact that he does not even pretend to do research into procedural justice or police legitimacy training. He will do this despite the fact that he does pretend to do research into African-American history, a pretense that has been repeatedly  pulled aside: even his reluctant university deems his work to fall "below the standard of the profession," Dr. Whitaker himself admits that the books he has published with ABC-CLIO contain extensive plagiarism, and  the publisher of his most recent volume has issued a statement that the book would not be sold in its current form because of errors of attribution. The Press, it added, "maintains no inventory."  But there is more.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Lorem Ipsum

In its public-spirited way, the Cabinet would like to help ASU's Center for the Study of Race and Democracy spread the word of a visitor whom it is bringing to campus to help conduct a "community conversation."  Dr. Jeremy Levitt, late -- and briefly -- of the University of New Brunswick -- will engage in a "straightforward exchange of ideas and dialogue" that "will keep the spirit of honesty and healing alive."  In the spirit of honesty, shall we introduce him?

Friday, January 16, 2015

They Like Him, They Really Like Him

The Cabinet received quite a bit of mail today, most of it hot to the touch.  Hot with the indignation of ASU students and faculty reporting that the University has seen fit to bestow its 2015 "Pioneer Award" on Professor Matthew C. Whitaker.  The cheerful announcement that Professor Whitaker has been honored by the University for "long-term dedication to the quality of life of African Americans" did not, somehow, elicit cries of "Well done!" Instead, observers noted that since Professor Whitaker has publicly brought shame on the university three times within two years, and has repeatedly committed actions that would cause students to be penalized or even expelled, he should not be given an award.  The Cabinet was in a mellow mood, and initially thought, well, it's an award for public service; Professor Whitaker is part of the public; giving him the award does him a service; what's not to like?  On second thought, yeah.  It's appalling. And the Cabinet is additionally unsettled by the fact that even had Professor Whitaker not been a plagiarist, his long-term dedication to the quality of life of African Americans appears to consist of being an extremely well-paid professor of African-American history and the director of the Center for Race and Democracy at Arizona State University. Thus the University has given Matthew C. Whitaker an award for occupying the lucrative position the University has given him.  And when those disgusted by serial plagiarizing suggest the professor should be gently encouraged to put his talents to different use, the University can respond, "But he wins awards!  We ought to know, because we give them to him!"  Why, yes.  Perhaps next year, ASU will give Matthew Whitaker a special award for having won a lot of awards from ASU.  Or perhaps Arizona State, which prides itself on its commitment to sustainability, will give Professor Matthew C. Whitaker an award for having steadfastly declined to expand the footprint of human knowledge. APS, the power company who is the Center's corporate sponsor -- and on whose behalf Professor Whitaker continues to write articles deploring net metering, all without disclosing his financial relationship to the power company -- would surely approve: Arizona State University Reuse, Recycle, and Repurpose Award for Scholars.  That, Professor Whitaker does indeed deserve.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Actually, he's out

As of December 2, the faculty page of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas offers this dignified notice: "Dr. Mustapha Marrouchi is no longer a member of the faculty at UNLV’s Department of English."  Plagiarizing from over 160 sources, in works ranging from his dissertation to recent articles, is, it seems, a bit too much. Was it the 134th theft that was the tipping point?  By that 150th stolen paragraph, the university decided that enough was enough? (Although 1 person voted not to fire him, fearing, apparently, a rush to judgment.)  But the Cabinet should not snark. Slow as it was, UNLV, unlike ASU, did in the end act.  This long saga was primarily a failure of a scholarly community, not of a bureaucracy.  Or is there not a difference?

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Yes, it is still possible to be shocked

Matthew C. Whitaker's plagiarism-riddled Peace Be Still has long since been discredited.  The book's publisher, the University of Nebraska Press, announced this:

"The University of Nebraska Press is in the process of incorporating revisions to Peace Be Still proposed by its author, Matthew Whitaker.  These changes will address the issues of paraphrasing and attribution that have come to light since the book's publication.  Nebraska currently has no inventory for this title, and future printings will reflect the author's revisions."

As a result, the paperback edition on Amazon shows this: Temporarily out of stock. 
Order now and we'll deliver when available.

Yet Professor Whitaker believes there is still money to be made from the repudiated edition, either to enrich himself, or to add to the corporate money flowing through his Center.  He just has to avoid the usual publishing and academic channels.  So this morning, he is selling the theoretically unavailable paperback of his book At a church. At a higher price than Amazon was.  Here is the astonishing announcement, which was removed from his ASU Center's Facebook immediately after the event took place:

Edit:  Wow, cool!  The image -- Professor Whitaker, his book, praise for self, date and time of sale -- was visible on the Cabinet's page for some time, despite having been wiped from Professor Whitaker and his Center's Facebook and twitter feeds.  But, now it's gone.  Trust us: it was spectacular.
Anyhow, the book, it appears, is good enough to be sold to members of the Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church, but not to anyone else. Perhaps that's unfair.  Professor Whitaker is teaching in spring.  Who doesn't think he will order his students to purchase Peace Be Still  from his well-stocked larder?

University of Nebraska Press has enabled this situation by declaring the book flawed and out of stock, but declining to recall it. ASU has enabled this situation by continuing to credential the professor.  Will they as well as Professor Whitaker share in the spoils of today's sale?  Will they benefit when Professor Whitaker assigns the book in his spring class, as he surely will?  Or is there somewhere a limit?