Conservative College Professor Investigated For A Year For Alleged Racism After Accusing Black Student Of Plagiarism

 A conservative college professor was investigated by his school for alleged racism after he accused a black student of plagiarism.

Claremont McKenna College professor William Ascher spent a year as the target of a racism investigation launched after a black student the professor accused of plagiarism filed a discrimination complaint. While the investigation took place between December 2022 and December 2023, the details only recently came to light in an article for The Claremont Independent, the school’s campus newspaper.

Ascher was ultimately cleared of racism and asked by the school’s president and administration committee to write his own account of the case.

Ascher said that on December 1, 2022, he submitted evidence showing that an unnamed black student had committed plagiarism on three short papers he wrote in two of Ascher’s courses. Ascher noted that this student missed one-third of the classes that semester. When Ascher read the papers, he determined they were of a “far superior” quality than two other short papers submitted by the same student, who received middling grades for those papers. Because of the difference in quality, Ascher ran the papers through a plagiarism-checking website and found plagiarism in all three papers.

But Ascher didn’t hear back from the school about the plagiarism accusations, and when he inquired about the delay, he was told the case had been taken out of consideration by the school’s Academic Standards Committee (ASC).

On January 18, 2023, Ascher said he asked why the case wasn’t being presented to the ASC. He said he was then informed that the accused student had filed a complaint of racism against him, along with several other black students who filed their claims after the accused student.

On February 2, 2023, Ascher learned the nature of the allegations against him. The student accused of plagiarism claimed he had been singled out because he was black, but Ascher provided evidence that he had also accused a white student of plagiarism that same semester.

Another black student said it was racist for Ascher to ask the student about the difference between natural forests and plantations in a natural resources course.

A third black student complained because Ascher asked her to sit closer to him. Ascher said that he asked several students to sit closer so that he could hear them through their COVID masks in the large classroom in which he taught.

A fourth black student claimed that Ascher asked her how old her mother was when she had given birth – an allegation Ascher flatly denied.

A fifth black student complained that Ascher did not use the term “black people” when discussing the apartheid era in South Africa.

Finally, a student born in Guatemala complained that Ascher spoke to him in Spanish when they were first introduced. This same student also claimed that Ascher was the reason the student wasn’t approved to study abroad. Ascher was on a committee that rejected the student’s request to study abroad because he had a low GPA. This student claimed in his complaint that he was so upset by not being able to study abroad that he dropped his International Relations (IR) major. Ascher noted that the student graduated as an IR major at the end of the school’s investigation, so the student never stopped pursuing that degree.

Months later, on April 14, 2023, Ascher received a written notice of the complaints against him. The list no longer included the complaint accusing Ascher of racism for asking a black student about the differences between forests and plantations but included a new complaint from a student saying the professor called on them “too much.”


“I was puzzled as to why so many students would come forward with contrived complaints, two of which are outright lies, and I learned from the investigator’s report that their formal complaints, coming a year after the alleged offenses, cam [sic] after the student accused of plagiarism filed his complaint,” Ascher wrote. “It seems likely that he violated the confidentiality requirement by soliciting more complaints. I cannot help concluding that this has been a concerted effort to prevent having the student charged with plagiarism, failing both courses, and facing a strong likelihood of being suspended (not only for the plagiarism, but also for lying about when papers were submitted).”

In early May 2023, Ascher spoke to an outside investigator looking into the racism allegations. He said he sent her point-by-point rebuttals and provided evidence of the initial complainant’s plagiarism. Over the next few months, he continued to send requested evidence and immediately respond to requests from investigators.

On October 19, Ascher received the investigator’s report, which cleared him of all allegations except the ones brought by the student accused of plagiarism. The report found that Ascher had discriminated against that student by submitting his suspicions of plagiarism, which Ascher said ignored the fact that faculty is obligated to report suspicions.

On December 18, more than a year after Ascher submitted evidence of plagiarism, all the racism allegations against him were dropped.

After this investigation concluded, the plagiarism case finally proceeded, the Claremont Independent reported, but the outcome is unclear.

Conservative College Professor Investigated For A Year For Alleged Racism After Accusing Black Student Of Plagiarism Conservative College Professor Investigated For A Year For Alleged Racism After Accusing Black Student Of Plagiarism Reviewed by Your Destination on May 29, 2024 Rating: 5

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