KSA Calls on KPU to Suspend the Sale of Textbooks Amid Plagiarism Allegations

KPU says they are investigating claims of plagiarism made against Charles Quist-Adade. (Braden Klassen)

The Kwantlen Student Association is calling for the suspension of sales of two sociology textbooks carried by the KPU bookstore, and for the issuing of refunds to students who purchased them. This request follows allegations that the author, KPU faculty member Dr. Charles Quist-Adade, used plagiarized content throughout multiple sections of the books.

The books, Race, Racism, and Anti-Racism: A Critical Constructivist Perspective and The Local-Global Nexus of Social Justice were published in 2019. They are listed as required readings for the spring semester sections of SOCI 4320 and SOCI 1125, respectively.

Quist-Adade is a KPU sociology instructor listed on KPU’s website as the “past immediate chair and former co-chair of the Sociology Department.”

On Nov. 28, The Runner obtained a letter addressed to KPU Dean of Arts Diane Purvey from the KSA which was signed by its vice-president university affairs, Sarah Strachan, and its executive director, Benjamin Newsom. The letter raised concerns about the books and asked for them to be retracted.

“It has recently come to the attention of the Kwantlen Student Association that two books assigned this summer in Sociology courses taught by Dr. Quist-Adade contain substantial plagiarism. Dozens of pages of material appears in both books, without citation,” reads the letter.

“The impression left to the reader is that many words written by others are those of Dr. Quist-Adade,” it continues.

“Currently, students who purchased these books in good faith might find themselves compounding this violation of academic integrity by citing the words of others as Dr. Quist-Adade’s. In order to protect the reputation of KPU, the Faculty of Arts, and the Department of Sociology, and to prevent further harm against others who have been plagiarised, KPU must retract these textbooks, sooner rather than later.”

The KSA published a press release about the books which was emailed to KPU students on Nov. 28 after meeting with Purvey to discuss the situation.

“Her response was that she would bring the concerns to an external complaints process, but that sales may be suspended pending final decision,” read part of the release.

On Dec. 2, a KPU spokesperson sent an email statement to The Runner addressing the allegations.

“An allegation of plagiarism is serious, and the university will undertake an immediate investigation of the claims put forward by the Kwantlen Student Association,” read the statement.

“In the meantime, the university has temporarily suspended the sale from its bookstores of the textbooks in question, pending the outcome of the investigation. Since our spring semester does not begin until January, this allows the university time to proceed with an investigation prior to the first day of classes. Any students who have already purchased the textbooks from a KPU bookstore can return them to the store for a full refund.”

On Dec. 4, Quist-Adade sent an email statement sent to The Runner denying the allegations.

“I categorically reject the claim of plagiarism. It is not true, and it is unjustified,” he wrote.

“I duly cited my sources and made the appropriate attributions … I used endnotes to indicate glossary terms I borrowed and/or adapted/paraphrased.”

“I can readily prove I sought permission from publishers or authors to reproduce materials from other publications I used in my own books,” he continued. “In terms of lecture notes, I rarely cited, since lecture notes are considered common knowledge, and hence do not require citations or attributions.”

On Dec. 5, Quist-Adade wrote a follow up email statement saying “I have not been officially informed that KPU is investigating the KSA complaint.”

“However, it stands to reason that the Institution will investigate any and all allegations made against its members.”

“I categorically deny ever committing plagiarism. Ever,” he wrote.

“Several complaints were made by an anonymous party. I categorically reject these complaints as well.”

KPU declined to say whether or not Quist-Adade will be teaching in the spring semester. They also declined to say who is responsible for investigating the claims and declined to provide an expected timeline for the investigation.

“We cannot comment further because of privacy legislation,” wrote a KPU spokesperson in an email response on Dec. 3.

On Dec. 5, staff at the KPU Surrey bookstore said they were unaware of any decision made to suspend the sale of the books, and The Runner was still able to purchase copies of both books from the KPU bookstore website.

Correction: An earlier version of this story that stated that the books were no longer being sold online was incorrect. As of Dec. 6 at 10:00 am, the books are still available for purchase on the KPU bookstore website.

Update: As of Dec. 7, the books are no longer available on the KPU bookstore website.

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