Black FSU professor resigns in disgrace amid allegations he faked data on commonality of racism, had 6 papers retracted

A criminology professor at Florida State University suddenly left his lucrative position after it was discovered that he skewed statistical data to make racism seem more prevalent than it actually is.

Eric Stewart, who left his $190,000-a-year job, has had five of his six studies taken down after allegations that he fabricated information by altering sample sizes. Though Stewart has denied these allegations, his sixth study, conducted in 2020, drew the attention of an FSU committee, who gathered to discuss Stewart’s findings, per the Daily Mail.

Stewart has not shown up to work in the last months, which could mark the end of his 16-year career at the institution and his long history of academic malpractice. Additionally, it is curious why Stewart would feel the need to fabricate data if racism was truly as prevalent as he made it out to be in his so-called study. 

The Florida Standard reported that in 2011, Stewart had co-authored a study with Justin Pickett, a fellow criminologist working at the University of Albany, suggesting that there was a correlation between black and Hispanic population growth and longer criminal sentences for black and Hispanic people. 

However, Pickett later said that the original, non-fabricated information revealed that there was no correlation between population growth between these groups and heavier prison sentences. Pickett apparently published his own paper that addressed the errors made in the joint paper, some of which was reportedly added just before publication, per the report.

Pickett wrote: “The data were also altered - intentionally or unintentionally - in other ways, and those alterations produced the article's main findings.”

But there were other errors, too. Pickett noted that though the study claimed that there were 1,184 respondents, there were actually only 500. He also notes that Stewart cherry-picked data from just 91 countries instead of including the full 326 that were originally included in the research.

Pickett noted: “There is only one possible conclusion from reanalyzing the data I have: the sample was not just duplicated in the analysis for the published article; the data were also altered, whether intentionally or unintentionally, and those alterations produced the article's main findings.”

Pickett allegedly reached out to Stewart to address the glaring issues, but he was ignored for four months, per the report.

Stewart’s action raises questions about the overall integrity of academic research, especially in fields that rely heavily on population input. If research data and findings can so easily be fabricated without strict oversight, it has to make one wonder how many other academic research projects have been altered in order to push a particular ideological worldview. The fissures of academic integrity have been exposed many times, including the Grievance studies affair, where, in 2018, three academics deliberately fabricated material that successfully passed through academic peer review because it bolstered the institution’s leanings on specific ideological positions.

However, four additional articles by Stewart, published between 2006 and 2015, were taken down by Florida State University. The university reportedly carried out a three-person inquiry into Stewart’s dealings. Stewart went on to say that Pickett “lynched me and my academic career.”

The university did not take any action initially, but a new debacle was introduced in 2020 when Stewart was involved in yet another paper. 

Pickett noted that there is a “huge monetary incentive” to fabricate data, and there is “no accountability.” He said that there was only a tiny chance that anyone who does this would be caught.

Florida State University should have taken action after the first discovery of Stewart’s research fabrication, but they continued to allow him to fabricate material while making a lucrative living by maintaining his professorship at the institution. His exit from the university should have happened a long time ago. 

Image: Title: eric stewart


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