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UCLA med school DEI leader accused of major plagiarism refuses to address allegations

Silence comes as med school under fire for ‘shocking’ academic decline under DEI 

Another university diversity, equity, and inclusion administrator is facing allegations of plagiarism – but neither she nor her employer, the University of California at Los Angeles, has responded publicly to the report.

Natalie Perry, the leader of the Cultural North Star program at the UCLA School of Medicine, and UCLA did not answer multiple requests for comment from The College Fix since a recent investigation alleged she plagiarized large portions of her doctoral dissertation.

Perry runs the Cultural North Star program, which works to “build and maintain an inclusive … culture” within the UCLA School of Medicine. She also holds a position on the medical school’s Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Team.

UCLA’s and Perry’s silence comes as the med school faces scorching criticism after whistleblowers sounded the alarm that the school is admitting underqualified racial minorities under DEI rubrics and “a third to a half of the medical school is incredibly unqualified.”

In her 2014 dissertation “Faculty Perceptions of Diversity at a Highly Selective Research-Intensive University” at the University of Virginia, Perry allegedly “lifted passages from ten other papers,” often using other scholars’ works almost word for word without any citations, according to an investigation by The Daily Wire and City Journal.

In one instance, she copied a nearly 1,000-word passage from another paper without citing the authors’ work anywhere, the report alleges.

The investigation found other cases when Perry’s paper did include citations, but those came from passages she used from other authors’ papers without citing them.

A side-by-side comparison of her dissertation with another paper written by sociology Professors Adalberto Aguirre and Ruben Martinez shows Perry allegedly plagiarized a lengthy paragraph, changing only one word from “types” to “examples,” without quotation marks or a citation of the authors.

Overall, the investigation alleges Perry’s paper “largely copied, unquoted and unattributed” other scholars’ works.

Since the release of the investigation in mid-April, however, neither UCLA nor Perry has publicly addressed the allegations. They did not respond to multiple requests for comment from The Fix by email and phone in recent weeks. Additionally, The Fix could not find any responses to the allegations from UCLA or Perry in other sources or social media.

Perry’s profile still appears on the university website, and her LinkedIn page states she currently is working in the role.

UCLA honored her on its Facebook and X pages in March for “prioritiz[ing] … empathy and radical listening to achieve her success as an educator and a leader.”

MORE: Columbia med DEI chief plagiarized from Wikipedia, other scholars: complaint

Meanwhile, University of Virginia spokesperson Brian Coy said UVA is investigating the plagiarism allegations.

“The university takes concerns about research integrity seriously,” Coy said in a statement to The Jefferson Council, a UVA alumni group that advocates for free speech and intellectual diversity.

“We are aware of these allegations from 2014 and we are initiating an investigation according to our process. While federal student privacy laws prohibit us from commenting on any specific case, the university does have the ability to revoke degrees in cases where plagiarism or other qualifying forms of misconduct are identified and proven,” Coy stated.

UVA media relations did not respond to two emails this week from The Fix asking for an update on the investigation.

Recent months have witnessed a spate of high-profile plagiarism allegations, including against former Harvard University President Claudine Gay, who later resigned.

George Leef, director of external relations for the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal, told The Fix in a recent email, “It is revealing that the plagiarism cases are concentrated in faux disciplines where saying the right things vastly outweighs the traditional rules of scholarship.” The center advocates for increased diversity of thought and open debate in higher education.

Meanwhile, Christian Miller, a philosophy professor and director of The Honesty Project at Wake Forest University, pointed to factors such as “pressure to publish quickly” and “simple intellectual laziness and sloppiness” as contributors to plagiarism among academics.

Despite the number of recent high-profile allegations, it is not clear if plagiarism is on the rise. Miller told The Fix in a recent email that “we don’t really have a sense of how common” plagiarism is.

Even the recent high-profile cases still number only in the dozens, according to Miller, which is a small number compared to the “tens of thousands of university professors.”

MORE: Watchdog files accreditation complaint against Harvard over plagiarism scandal

IMAGE: UCLA/Facebook

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About the Author
College Fix contributor Mary Mobley is a student at The Master's University majoring in political studies with an emphasis in constitutional law.