Princeton University Waits Six Months To Investigate Left-Wing Professor’s Alleged Plagiarism

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Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
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Princeton University waited six months to respond to reports of possible plagiarism by a left-wing professor, economics historian Phillip Magness told the Daily Caller on Friday.

Magness found signs of “possible” plagiarism in historian Kevin Kruse’s 2015 book, “One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America,” he told the Daily Caller. Magness first contacted Princeton’s Dean of Faculty, Gene Jarrett, and Kruse’s publisher in December pointing to several passages in the book that seemed to align closely with a 1956 New York Times article by reporter Elizabeth Fowler about former President Abraham Lincoln.

“I did not receive any response or even an acknowledgement from Jarrett’s office,” Magness told the Daily Caller.

Six months later, Magness contacted the university’s Dean of Research, Pablo Debenedetti, on June 7, who said the dean of faculty is responsible for conducting these investigations and forwarded the message to Jarrett’s office. (RELATED: University Quietly Alters Application That Excluded White People After Professor Files Complaint)

“I contacted Princeton directly about these discoveries out of a concern for academic integrity,” Magness told the Daily Caller before being contacted. “It was my hope that they would investigate these issues through the appropriate channels, and my intention [was] to give them an opportunity to do so. Unfortunately, they appear to have been unresponsive to multiple attempts to bring the issues to their attention. That is why I decided to publish my findings in Reason.”

Princeton contacted Magness on Friday and said they take these sorts of allegations “very seriously” and are willing to “carefully consider” the case, according to an email obtained by the Daily Caller.

“Your email of June 7, 2022, below, to the University’s Dean for Research has been forwarded to the Office of the Dean of the Faculty, as allegations of research misconduct on the part of a member of the Faculty are the concern of this office. We take such allegations very seriously, and we will carefully consider the concerns you have raised,” Toni Turano, deputy dean of faculty, said, according to the email.

In his blog post, Magness pointed to a few passages of Kruse’s text appearing to show similarities to the Times article.

Kruse allegedly wrote, “Lincoln, aware that the gold supply supporting ‘greenbacks’ was dwindling, joked that a more appropriate motto might be found in the words of the apostle Peter: ‘Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have give I thee,'” according to Magness’s post.

Mangess then pointed to the original article, which read, “But it is reported that President Lincoln, mindful of the dwindling gold supply, said that a more appropriate motto for the greenbacks might be the remark of the Apostle Peter: ‘Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have, I give Thee.'”

“It’s also a fair question to ask whether Kruse committed a more serious offense: plagiarism,” Magness wrote. “Due to the faulty but existent citation in Kruse’s footnotes, I’d say it’s a borderline case between an embarrassingly sloppy research faux pas and potential research misconduct.”

Magness alleged in an article for Reason that Kruse may have plagiarized passages from the 1996 book “Race and the Shaping of Twentieth-Century Atlanta” by retired historian Ronald H. Bayor, and “The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit” by Thomas Sugrue for his doctoral dissertation on the history of race relations in Atlanta. Magness compared the similarities between the books and Kruse’s thesis.

“A few sentences later, Bayor begins to summarize his book’s thesis, writing ‘While Atlanta, like any other city, is unique in certain ways, I do not believe Atlanta is unique in regard to the impact of race,'” Magness wrote. (RELATED: Professor Faces Termination After Opposing Wokeness)

“Compare that to how Kruse lays out his dissertation’s thesis, which holds that Atlanta’s experience may be representative of other southern cities in the era of segregation: ‘While Atlanta, like any other city, is unique in certain ways, I do not believe it is unique in regard to its struggles over race and rights.’ The only difference in this case appears to be a cosmetic change of the last few words,” he continued.

Kruse — a notable figure among the “academic left” who has contributed to The New York Times’ “The 1619 Project” — condemned former Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke, who joined the Trump administration, for plagiarizing books in his master’s thesis for the Naval Postgraduate School, according to Magness’ Reason article.

“If he wants someone with more credentials to say it: I’m a professor. This is textbook plagiarism. We’d expel a student who pulled this,” Kruse said.

The university previously fired classics professor Joshua Katz after investigating a consensual relationship with a student 15 years ago. The professor had condemned the university’s claims of being systemically racist in a 2020 Quillette op-ed.

Jarrett referred the Daily Caller to Princeton’s media relations department, but did not comment further. The Daily Caller contacted both Kruse and his publisher. Neither responded immediately for comment.