HCC trustee plagiarized parts of dissertation, board finds

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Adriana Tamez
Adriana Tamez at at a 2018 Stem Building Ribbon Cutting at Felix Fraga Academic Campus

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 story was first reported by ABC-13.

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.

They include:

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.

11 COMMENTS

  1. HCC’s corrupt board just voted to pay off Cheryl Sterling when she sued due to racial discrimination. I’m not surprised at any of the corruption on this board.

    • Well, if it was “several pages”, I would guess she just lifted the work from someone else. Not just forgot to insert some citations here and there but added them to her bibliography.

      But you know what? If Austin Community College professors hand out F’s for minor, unintentional citation infractions…. this woman can go F herself.

      She shouldn’t be making mistakes like this at the doctoral level.

  2. The UT board did NOT say it was unintentional. They found she had committed academic misconduct in the form of plagiarism. It was not merely an absentmindedly forgotten parenthetical citation; it was 10 pages of word-for-word material, in addition to research methods and study participants. Those are not unintentional acts.

    Further, one should be fully aware of proper attribution practices by the time they are completing a doctoral dissertation; at that point in an academic career, they have written hundreds of papers, and if they do not know, then perhaps the fault lies with the program in which they are enrolled.

    As Tamez is a school superintendent and a member of the Board of Trustees at an academic institution of higher learning, if either does not censure her formally, they are tacitly approving her actions and sending a message to students that it is okay to lie and cheat to get ahead. They are telling students that it is fine to steal someone else’s work and words.

    It is unfathomable that neither institution has taken any action or made a public statement on this matter.

    • Correct. She needs to step dow0n & face appropriate punishment. Staying condones the behavior. 10 pages IS NOT ‘unintentional’.

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