Accused plagiarist Matthew Whitaker admits his book was flawed and accepts a demotion

Historians in the News
tags: Matthew Whitaker

Click HERE for HNN's full coverage of the Whitaker case. 

Related Links

●  Inside Higher Ed news story

●  ASU prof in plagiarism scandal cancels city contract

The Interim Provost of Arizona State University has informed the faculty that historian Matthew Whitaker has been knocked down in rank following an investigation of allegations of plagiarism. In a brief email Mark S. Searle reported that after "concerns were raised about his book Peace be Still: Modern Black America from World War II to Barack Obama an investigation ensued in keeping with ASU policy. Results of that investigation identified significant issues with the content of the aforementioned book. As a result of the outcomes from that investigation, Dr. Whitaker has accepted a position as Associate Professor without a Foundation Professorship, and now co-directs his center."

The university released a letter from Whitaker, reprinted below. 

He was accused of multiple counts of plagiarism.  HNN raised questions about the initial university investigation.  As Brian Gratton, a retired historian at ASU reported, the provost then in charge had conflicts of interest that undermined confidence in the thoroughness of the review of Whitaker's work.  Furthermore, as HNN reported at the time, the University of Nebraska Press, which published Peace Be Still, stood by Whitaker even after the allegations were confirmed in multiple forums.  The publisher said it was working with Whitaker to correct errors, but declined to withdraw the book or post an errata notice.

The Cabinet of Plagiarism,  an anonymous website that first broke the story of Whitaker's alleged plagiarism, is now after him for soliciting and winning a "$268,800 no-bid contract to teach police officers [in Phoenix] how to do their jobs with integrity. ... Matthew Whitaker's good standing as an ASU Foundation Professor was repeatedly cited as essential.   So, the City has more or less hired someone who suppressed evidence and misled the community, to train police officers how not to abuse their authority.  Is it possible to die of irony?"