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Statement from Provost Michael J. Page
I am writing to inform you of the findings of an internal investigation into allegations of academic fraud against our former employee, Dr. James Hunton. The investigation found that Dr. Hunton, acting alone, falsified data in two papers. As a result of the evidence discovered in the course of the investigation, Dr. Hunton’s entire body of work while at Bentley is subject to a further review in collaboration with the publishers of those articles. A copy of the report can be found here.
As upsetting as this finding is for all of us, I know that you join me in reaffirming Bentley’s commitment to academic integrity and to professional ethical standards by our entire community. These are principles that cannot be compromised.
The investigation followed the process specified in Bentley’s Code of Ethics for Faculty and Staff and its underlying Ethics Complaint Procedure. It was conducted under the direction of our Ethics Officer, Judith Malone, and with the support of Professor Dan Everett (Dean of Arts & Sciences), Professor Joe Newpol (Chair of Senate) and Professor M. Lynne Markus (John W. Poduska Senior Professor of Information and Process Management and Chair of the Bentley Research Council).
The report concludes that Dr. Hunton was solely responsible for the research fraud. The investigation found no evidence of collusion by the co-authors of the two publications, who relied on Dr. Hunton’s international reputation for high-quality research in accepting the data from him. Bentley will inform the respective journals of the results of our investigation. Based on the report’s recommendations, Bentley will pursue the following course of action:
- Identify all co-authors of papers Dr. Hunton published while he was at Bentley that involve research data.
- Inform the co-authors that unless they have independent evidence of the data’s validity, Bentley will ask the journals that published these papers to determine, with the co-authors’ assistance, whether the data is valid.
- Assist the journals as much as possible in helping them reach a determination of whether to retract or qualify a paper authored or co-authored by Dr. Hunton.
- Appoint a committee to review our policies on ethical research practices and make recommendations for improvements if deemed necessary.
Please feel free to direct interested parties to the report, and inform them that they can contact either Director of News & Communications Michele Walsh (firstname.lastname@example.org) or me.
Let me conclude by again stating that academic integrity and professional ethical behavior are the bedrock of our community. It is painful for us to discover that these important principles were violated by a colleague. We will learn from this experience, and continue to focus on the values and attributes that are the hallmark of our University.
Michael J. Page
Provost and Vice-President for Academic Affairs
The Yawkey Foundations have recognized Bentley University’s longstanding commitment to service-learning and awarded the university $500,000 to educate students to effectively lead nonprofit organizations and expand student efforts to help community groups.