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Argosy official put on leave: School investigating claims of plagiarism

2-24-06 Lobby scenes in and around the Illinois Institute of Art Chicago, Argosy ( Photo by Bob Black/Sun-Times)

An official at Argosy University’s Chicago campus has been placed on administrative leave while the school investigates allegations she plagiarized parts of her doctoral research project.

Bindu Ganga, a member of Argosy’s core faculty and its director of training, is on paid leave, Argosy University president Gregory O’Brien said in an e-mail to the Sun-Times Friday. Students have been told that an interim director of training is serving in her absence.

“We are taking the allegations you outlined in your recent story very seriously,” wrote O’Brien, who is based in Chicago and oversees the entire Argosy system, which has 13 campuses in 10 states.

Panel to review work

The Sun-Times reported last Sunday that roughly 45 percent of Ganga’s research project was identical or nearly identical to previously published works, according to an analysis by Turnitin, an electronic plagiarism detection Web site. Scores of statements in the paper were verbatim or nearly verbatim to ones in a book by Charles Ford, Lies! Lies!! Lies!!!, published four years before the paper was released. Although Ford does get some credit in Ganga’s paper, Ford said “it does appear that there is substantial plagiarism.”

RELATED: Student scolded by Argosy after accusing school official of plagiarizing project

Ganga’s doctoral research paper — known as a clinical research project — will be reviewed by a committee of Argosy faculty members from outside the Chicago campus and outside the university, O’Brien said. In a later e-mail, O’Brien said the review would likely be completed over the next few weeks. The review will be done “as rapidly as thoroughness and fairness will permit,” he said.

Ganga could not be reached for comment. Earlier she said the situation had been “fully investigated” and referred other questions to the campus president.

Profile no longer a ‘success’

A profile of Ganga — who got her doctorate in clinical psychology from the school’s campus in the northwest suburbs — has been removed from a section on Argosy’s Web site detailing student “success stories.”

Students said campus administrators, including O’Brien, have visited classes this week to emphasize the importance of academic integrity. O’Brien said the school has “reiterated our commitment to academic integrity to both faculty and staff at Argosy University and emphasized that we do not condone academic dishonesty by faculty or students.”