COE Faculty and Staff,
I am writing to make you aware of a serious matter regarding a recent College of Education communication. I have learned that the communication, entitled, “Lehigh University College of Education Renews Commitment to Anti-racist Education,” (dated November 23, 2020) included sections that were plagiarized from a course description of another university without attribution.
This concern was brought to my attention in the first week of December by a Lehigh COE alum who had read the message and cross-checked its originality. I investigated the situation and confirmed that this non-attribution had indeed occurred in the development of the statement. This error is unacceptable and inexcusable. That it occurred in a non-academic context makes it no less serious as it detracts from the important work of addressing systemic racism and oppression.
I am saddened and concerned by this episode. It detracts from the good intentions and quality work that is underway in the COE around decolonizing our syllabi and curriculum. It is especially concerning since we are a community of scholars whose integrity rests upon the trust of stating what is true, fair and original.
With the appropriate guidance from University Communications and the Dean’s Cabinet, I am addressing internal processes and staffing that led to this unfortunate situation. 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.
I will be contacting the university and faculty members whose work we used to apologize and make them aware that this failure occurred. This event is an important reminder that our commitment to the highest standards of integrity must extend to every communication and action we undertake.
William Gaudelli Dean and Professor, COE