Matthew Whitaker has left Arizona State following allegations of plagiarism

Historians in the News
tags: plagiarism, Matthew Whitaker

Rick Shenkman is the editor of HNN. His newest book is Political Animals: How Our Stone Age Brain Gets in the Way of Smart Politics (Basic Books, January 2016).

The History News Network has confirmed that historian Matthew Whitaker has left Arizona State University.  In an email to HNN he told us:

I have voluntarily resigned from my position as Associate Professor of History and co-director of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy.  I will be devoting my full efforts to teaching and working on behalf of racial healing, harmony, diversity and inclusion, through the auspices of The Whitaker Group, LLC and my community service.

The Arizona Republic is reporting that Whitaker will walk away with $200,000 in salary and $25,000 for attorney fees, paid out over the next sixteen months. He will remain on the university health insurance program while receiving a paycheck.

Whitaker's resignation has been rumored for months.  In September the university announced that he had taken a leave of absence following allegations that he had plagiarized a report he prepared for the Phoenix police department for which he was paid $21,800. Whitaker claimed the department had been made aware of the fact that he borrowed heavily from a Chicago police department powerpoint presentation.  City officials denied he had informed them of this.

The police department controversy followed a series of complaints that Whitaker had been guilty of numerous instances of plagiarism, as we have reported on HNN.

Whitaker copped to sloppy scholarship, but always denied he intentionally plagiarized other historians. The books in question were published by the University of Nebraska Press, which stood by him.

Whitaker had risen to a high status as an ASU Foundation professor of history and the founding director of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy. In the summer of 2015, following a university investigation, he was demoted to associate professor of history.