A Revoked Doctorate for Little Rock School District Former Leader

Ashley Thorne

Last April, the superintendent of Little Rock School District (LRSD), Dexter Suggs, was fired amid allegations that he had plagiarized parts of his dissertation for his doctorate in Organizational Leadership from Indiana Wesleyan University. Whole sections of a dissertation by Dr. Georgann Scott appear unattributed in Suggs’s dissertation.

The National Association of Scholars learned about this story and wrote to IWU president David Wright urging him to take action to investigate the plagiarism charges. This week the Arkansas Times and Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported IWU’s decision to revoke Dexter Suggs’s doctorate. The Times reprinted a portion of NAS’s letter, which called for at least “a public statement acknowledging the failure of the doctoral examination committee to take notice of the plagiarism.” The letter also stated that “Dr. Suggs himself should be allowed to speak on his own behalf.”

Suggs’s severance payments from LRSD, which were to total nearly $250,000, were contingent on the legitimacy of his doctorate. Now that the doctorate has been revoked, Suggs will not receive the three additional payments of $50,500 that were scheduled to be made every two months.

The NAS commends Indiana Wesleyan University for acting justly in this matter. Every university should expect academic integrity in its graduates, and individuals appointed to positions of public trust must also be held to public accountability. 

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