Florida State University criminology professor Eric Stewart has left his job after being accused of falsifying data on racism studies.
One of his accusers was Albany criminology professor Justin Pickett — who co-authored a study with Stewart.
Stewart has had six of his studies retracted — and has been away from the college since March.
A Florida State University criminology professor abruptly left his $190,000-a-year position following allegations that he fudged data on racism studies during his 16-year tenure.
Eric Stewart, who had six of his studies retracted, has been absent from the college since mid-March after a new investigation over his work renewed scrutiny over claims that he fabricated data by altering sample sizes to make the results appear more racist, the Florida Standard reports.
Stewart was first accused of falsifying data by Justin Pickett, a University of Albany criminology professor who co-authored a report on race and crime with Stewart in 2011.
Despite the result, the paper was published with “altered” data to claim there was a correlation, with Pickett noting that many of the changes appeared to have been tacked on just before publication.
The biggest change Pickett pointed out was their sample size growing to 1,184 respondents even though they only had 500, and that the study’s conclusion came from handpicking the data from 91 counties instead of the full list of 326.
Initial inquiries into Stewart resulted in no sanctions.
FSU agreed to a small inquiry after 5 of Stewart’s studies were retracted.
Two of the three people on the committee had previously co-authored studies with Stewart and they decided there wasn’t enough evidence to move forward with an investigation.
This is despite the fact they made no effort to sequester Stewart’s original data or interview those who had filed the allegations.
The Florida Standard reported:
When Pickett brought the altered research to Stewart’s attention, he was stalled. Stewart – supported by his other co-authors– refused to give Pickett a copy of the original data for over four months. They stated that jumping to conclusions without giving Stewart time to explain himself was unfair.
This study, along with four more written by Stewart, ranging from 2006 to 2015, were retracted amidst this debate – leading to FSU finally agreeing to a small-scale inquiry. Made up of a three-person committee, the inquiry’s purpose was to decide if an investigation was necessary.
Two of the three individuals on FSU’s inquiry committee, however, had co-authored studies with Stewart – directly contradicting FSU’s conflict of interest policy.
The inquiry team made no effort to sequester Stewart’s original data or interview those who had filed the allegations – two further ignored steps in inquiry proceedings.
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