A University of Texas academic board has found that Houston Community College trustee Adriana Tamez plagiarized several pages in her 2011 UT doctoral dissertation.
“I accept responsibility for an unintentional mistake I made regarding the lack of proper attribution of sources that I used with permission, and their omission from the reference section of my dissertation, which I completed more than seven years ago,” Tamez said in a statement to The Texas Monitor.
Tamez went to UT for her doctorate in educational administration, according to the HCC website. She is the superintendent for a charter school, the Raul Yzaguirre Schools for Success.
The board found said it found “scientific misconduct” when portions of her dissertation included pieces very similar to other published material, according to ABC-13. Tamez told The Texas Monitor she believes that it was an anonymous complaint that alerted UT to the plagiarism.
“I am grateful to whomever brought this to the university’s attention and appreciate the opportunity to make this correction,” she said in her statement. “I am thankful that the University of Texas at Austin recognized the mistake was not intentional and thus has allowed me to correct my work. Their conclusion demonstrates their belief in the quality of the research I submitted and the veracity of my findings.”
Tamez declined additional comment.
Carolyn Evans-Shabazz, who chairs the HCC Board of Trustees, declined comment.
Anthony Magdaleno, chair of the board of the Raul Yzaguirre Schools for Success, did not return a call left on his cell phone seeking comment.
HCC Trustee Dave Wilson, who has often been critical of fellow board members and college leadership, said that he believes Tamez should step down from the board.
“Success in life through fraud and plagiarism is not success at all,” Wilson said in a statement. “The news of Dr. Adriana Tamez’s, or should I say Adriana Tamez’s, plagiarism on her doctoral thesis, is no surprise to many of us. Will Trustee Tamez do what is right (resign)? If not, how does the Houston Community College Board of Trustees want to be defined? Accepting of her behavior (fraud, deceit, and corruption), or make a statement to the community that we as board do not approve? Our actions will define our board.”
Wilson said this is not an isolated act, but rather part of “a pattern of fraud, deceit, and corruption” in connection to the board.
“What message does this send our students?,” Wilson said in his statement. “Does this expose HCC to any potential liability?”
Wilson in January filed a complaint against Tamez, claiming she lives outside of her district, citing public records that purport to demonstrate that Tamez lives in an Allen Parkway high-rise, rather than a modest house on Houston’s Jefferson Street.
His claim was called “unfounded” by the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.
A series of ethical issues have plagued HCC’s elected officials and administrators in recent years.
- Longtime Houston Community College Trustee Chris Olver was sentenced in January in federal court to nearly six years behind bars, after revealing that he received nearly a quarter of a million dollars in bribes to steer contracts to select HCC vendors.
- HCC purchased nine acres of vacant property just off State Highway 288 along North MacGregor Way. The college bought the land in 1990 for $800,000, sold it 10 years later for $2 million and then repurchased it in 2013 for $13.6 million — $12.8 million more than taxpayers paid for it the first time. This came to light in 2015.
- Less than three months after Houston Community College brought on special counsel to probe the way the college system hires vendors in the wake of the Oliver bribery scandal, the attorneys picked for the job are no longer on the job. They left behind an unfinished investigation and charged taxpayers $207,607.
Tamez’s dissertation was called “Latina Superintendents: A phenomenological study of superintendent-board relations.”
According to an academic website: “This study considered how being Latina, and all the variables inherent in gender and ethnicity intersect when a Latina is a public school district superintendent in Texas; specifically, how a Latina superintendent effectuates meaningful and productive superintendent-board relations. The study employed a phenomenological approach, and utilized semi-structured interviews, collection of artifacts, researcher observations, and a board of education member survey.”
The dissertation is no longer available to the public on the University of Texas website.
Trent Seibert can be reached at [email protected] or 832-258-6119.