Michigan State University continues to investigate charges that professor Sharif Shakrani committed plagiarism in a study of public schools.
MSU acknowledges that the case is active, but will not say where its review process stands.
“Our procedures call for confidentiality for any ongoing case,” said James Pivarnik, MSU’s research integrity officer.
The allegations surfaced in August, when the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a Michigan think tank, examined Shakrani’s work and found what it believed to be examples of plagiarism.
Shakrani’s study concluded that school consolidation in Michigan could save $612 million. The Mackinac Center was particularly interested in the findings because they conflicted with a similar study it had conducted in 2007.
“This remains a troubling case for two reasons,” said Michael Jahr of the Mackinac Center. “First, no action appears to have been taken regarding a professor who copied material from other sources without attribution. Second, even though the scholarship in this study was debunked by our education policy director, as well as the author of an earlier report that the study was based on, it continues to be treated as academically sound by some media outlets and MSU.”
The Grand Rapids Press, which commissioned the study, refused to condemn its findings when accusations of plagiarism first broke. It published an editorial in favor of school consolidation on October 12, using Shakrani’s research to make their point. The editorial did not mention the plagiarism investigation.
Tom Watkins of Dome Magazine, which covers public policy in Michigan, urged the state to consolidate its schools. He also cited Shakrani’s findings without making reference to the possible plagiarism.
Stephanie Wang is a staff writer for the Michigan Review. She is a member of the Student Free Press Association.