– Eric Stewart falsified data in research papers
– He was fired after 20 years for “incompetence” and “false results”
– 6 of his published articles have been fully retracted
Eric Stewart, a professor at Florida State University, has been fired for falsifying data in research papers about racism in American society. College authorities said he was being fired for “incompetence” and “false results”. Six of his articles published in major academic journals were fully retracted after allegations of fake data.
Investigations into the professor began in 2020 when his former graduate student, Justin Pickett, blew the whistle on his research. Pickett said that Stewart had fiddled the sample size to get the desired results. The professor was then formally terminated in a July 13th letter.
The retracted studies looked into contentious social issues, including the public’s perception of black and Latino people as threats and the role of racial discrimination in America’s criminal justice system. One study suggested that historical lynchings make white people perceive black people as threats and that the effect was greater among those with greater socioeconomic disadvantage and political conservatism.
Despite the retraction of his studies, Stewart had become an influencer in his field, with over 8,500 citations by other researchers, according to Google Scholar. He was Vice President and Fellow at the American Society of Criminology and had received over $3.5 million in grant support from major organisations and taxpayer-funded entities.
Eric Stewart, a professor at Florida State University, has been fired for falsifying data in research papers purporting to show that American society is beset with racism. The New York Post has more.
The academic was fired after almost 20 years of his data — including figures used in an explosive study, which claimed the legacy of lynchings made whites perceive blacks as criminals, and that the problem was worse among conservatives — were found to be in question.
College authorities said he was being fired for “incompetence” and “false results”.
Among the studies he has had to retract were claims that whites wanted longer sentences for blacks and Latinos.
To date, six of Stewart’s articles published in major academic journals like Criminology and Law and Society Review between 2003 and 2019 have been fully retracted after allegations the professor’s data was fake or so badly flawed it should not have been published.
The professor’s termination came four years after his former graduate student Justin Pickett blew the whistle on his research.
Pickett said they had worked together in 2011 researching whether the public was demanding longer sentences for black and Hispanic criminals as those minority populations grew, with the paper claiming they did. But Stewart had fiddled the sample size to deliver that result when the real research did not, Pickett said.
When the investigation into Stewart began in 2020, he claimed he was the victim and that Pickett “essentially lynched me and my academic character”.
After 16 years as a professor of criminology at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Provost James Clark formally notified Stewart he was being terminated in a July 13th letter.
“I do not see how you can teach our students to be ethical researchers or how the results of future research projects conducted by you could be deemed as trustworthy,” Clark wrote to Stewart, who has been absent from his role since March.
Clark said as well as the six officially retracted studies, other work by Stewart was “in doubt”.
The retracted studies looked into contentious social issues, like whether the public perceives black and Latino people as threats and the role of racial discrimination in America’s criminal justice system.
One 2019 study, which has been retracted, suggested historical lynchings make white people today perceive black people as threats.
Stewart floated the idea “that this effect will be greater among whites… where socioeconomic disadvantage and political conservatism are greater”.
Another retracted 2018 study suggested that white Americans view black and Latino people as “criminal threats”, and suggested that perceived threat could lead to “state-sponsored social control”.
And in a third, Stewart claimed Americans wanted tougher sentences for Latinos because their community was increasing in numbers and becoming more economically successful. …
But the disgraced professor was able to rise to prominence as an influencer in his field despite his studies from as early as 2003 now being retracted.
Stewart was a widely-cited scholar, with north of 8,500 citations by other researchers, according to Google Scholar — a measure of his clout as an academic.
He was Vice President and Fellow at the American Society of Criminology, who honoured him as one of four highly distinguished criminologists in 2017.
He was also a W.E.B. DuBois fellow at the National Institute of Justice.
The professor received north of $3.5 million in grant support from major organisations and taxpayer-funded entities, according to his resume.