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College Apologizes for Plagiarized Antiracist Statement

December 10, 2020

William Gaudelli, dean of Lehigh University’s College of Education, apologized for a recent college memo that included sections from a course description from another university, without attribution. The plagiarized memo, which reaffirmed the college’s commitment to antiracist education, was “unacceptable and inexcusable,” Gaudelli wrote in a message to faculty and staff members. A Lehigh graduate brought the issue to Gaudelli’s attention, he said, and a cross-check of the two documents confirmed the allegation. The university is now “addressing internal processes and staffing that led to this unfortunate situation.”

Gaudelli did not name the scholars whose work was plagiarized but said he’d reach out to them to apologize. “Rest assured that the content of this work -- decolonizing syllabi and working to become an anti-racist community of scholars -- continues to be an utmost priority for the College of Education along with the integrity of the written word,” he wrote. Lehigh University was criticized earlier this year for its initial statement about the Black Lives Matter movement, which referred to “shared values” and “mutual responsibility” but did not mention the late George Floyd.

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Colleen Flaherty

Colleen Flaherty, Reporter, covers faculty issues for Inside Higher Ed. Prior to joining the publication in 2012, Colleen was military editor at the Killeen Daily Herald, outside Fort Hood, Texas. Before that, she covered government and land use issues for the Greenwich Time and Hersam Acorn Newspapers in her home state of Connecticut. After graduating from McGill University in Montreal in 2005 with a degree in English literature, Colleen taught English and English as a second language in public schools in the Bronx, N.Y. She earned her M.S.Ed. from City University of New York Lehman College in 2008 as part of the New York City Teaching Fellows program. 

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