UCLA DEI Chief Caught Plagiarizing Dissertation, Of Course

Written by Thomas Carter.

UCLA is dealing with quite the academic scandal. Natalie J. Perry, who leads the university’s medical school DEI initiative called “Cultural North Star,” has been exposed for plagiarizing large chunks of her dissertation. This revelation was brought to light by investigative journalists Chris Rufo and Luke Rosiak from the Daily Wire. They discovered that Perry’s 2014 dissertation for the University of Virginia, which pushes for more robust DEI departments in state institutions, borrowed heavily from other sources without giving any credit.

The irony of this situation is thick, especially considering Perry’s role involves promoting values such as empathy and radical listening—qualities for which UCLA recently celebrated her. Yet, her primary academic publication, her dissertation, is now marred by allegations of stealing intellectual property from at least ten different sources, sometimes making minimal changes like swapping the word “types” for “examples” to disguise the borrowed content.

Questions of Integrity and Leadership

This scandal raises serious questions about the accountability and academic standards at institutions that shape our future leaders. Perry was found to have copied almost a thousand words verbatim from a study by researchers Chad Hartnell, Amy Yi Ou, and Angelo Kinicki without acknowledgment. Such significant plagiarism not only casts doubt on Perry’s own ethical standing but also throws a shadow over the DEI initiatives she oversees at UCLA.

Furthermore, UCLA’s choice of mandatory courses on topics like “structural racism,” “indigenous womxn,” and “two-spirits” suggests a strong institutional commitment to progressive values. However, the effectiveness and sincerity of these programs are now under scrutiny if those leading them fail to meet basic standards of academic honesty. Despite the severity of these charges, both Perry and UCLA have stayed silent, not responding to media inquiries about the issue. There’s also no word yet from the University of Virginia on whether they will take any action against Perry’s academic misconduct.

Our Perspective

Natalie J. Perry’s case is disappointing and serves as a stark reminder of the pitfalls of hypocrisy in higher education. Entrusted with instilling values of diversity, equity, and inclusion at one of the top medical schools in the country, Perry’s alleged actions reflect poorly not just on her but also on the systems that are supposed to uphold academic integrity.

This episode confirms worries about the state of higher education where ideological drives can sometimes eclipse essential academic values like integrity and truth. It stresses the need for colleges and universities to double down on ethical standards and align their practices with the high principles they preach. Looking ahead, it’s crucial for educational institutions to not just talk about high values but to live by them, ensuring that the leaders of tomorrow are educated in environments where ethical conduct is not just expected but exemplified. The unfolding situation at UCLA should act as a wake-up call, prompting a recommitment to these ideals across the academic world.

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