Double Standards: Princeton Turns Blind Eye To Plagiarism From Woke Professor

University’s approach to Kevin Kruse provides stark contrast to its treatment of Joshua Katz

Princeton history professor Kevin Kruse / Wikimedia Commons
June 16, 2022

Princeton University learned in December about plagiarism allegations against one of its star progressive professors, emails obtained by the Washington Free Beacon show, but it does not appear to have taken action against him in the intervening six months.

On Dec. 6, the economic historian Phillip Magness emailed Princeton's dean of faculty, Gene Jarrett, with evidence that Princeton historian Kevin Kruse plagiarized several passages of his 2015 book One Nation Under God.

"I am sharing this information in the interest of academic integrity," Magness wrote. The email contained detailed comparisons between Kruse's book and a 1956 New York Times article from which Kruse appears to have lifted passages without attribution.

The university never replied to Magness's email, Magness told the Free Beacon, and has not announced an investigation of Kruse. Jarrett did not respond to a request for comment.

The university's treatment of Kruse—a historian known for his searing criticism of conservative media—contrasts sharply with its scorched-earth approach to Joshua Katz, the classics professor who was fired last month after raising hell over the school's racial politics.

That contrast raises questions about political double standards at the Ivy League university, which has denied that its firing of Katz had anything to do with ideology.

Katz was a Princeton pariah: His biting criticism of the school's political correctness drew flak from students, faculty, and staff, including Princeton president Christopher Eisgruber. The university even condemned Katz as a racist in its 2021 freshman orientation programming, doctoring one of his quotes to make him seem racially insensitive. It began investigating him within a month of receiving "new information" about a consensual relationship he had with a student in 2007, for which he had already been punished in 2018.

Kruse, on the other hand, is a darling of the online left. He frequently posts Twitter threads debunking conservative "lies" and, in 2017, mocked a member of the Trump administration for plagiarizing his master's thesis.

"We'd expel a student who pulled this," Kruse tweeted.

Kruse may have plagiarized his own thesis, Magness argued in a June 14 Reason article, on top of his 2015 book. Passages in Kruse's 2000 doctoral dissertation are almost indistinguishable from those in two 1996 monographs: Race and the Shaping of Twentieth-Century Atlanta by Ronald Bayor and The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit by Thomas Sugrue.

Magness highlighted these similarities in another email to Princeton on June 7, this time addressed to the dean of research, Pablo Debenedetti. Debenedetti replied that he forwarded the email to Jarrett's office, which never circled back to Magness.

Plagiarism is a "very serious charge at Princeton," the school's academic integrity policies state. "It can result in disciplinary probation, suspension, or expulsion."

Published under: Princeton