A second Minnesota community college president has been cleared of accusations that she plagiarized part of her doctoral dissertation, according to a statement released Friday.
Dorothy Duran, president of Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical in Red Wing, released the results of an inquiry concluding that her "behavior does not rise to scientific misconduct."
The inquiry was conducted by the University of Texas at Austin, where she earned her doctorate in 1998, after the plagiarism allegations surfaced in February.
Steven Rosenstone, chancellor of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system, said he was "pleased, but not surprised, with the outcome." In a written statement, he said: "These reckless charges are one tactic in a coordinated campaign of personal attacks intended to tarnish the reputations of MnSCU presidents. We consider the matter closed."
In February, critics posted a series of plagiarism allegations on a site called SaveSouthCentralCollege.blogspot.com. In one, they posted excerpts of Duran's dissertation alongside her source materials, saying she failed to give them proper credit.
The University of Texas disagreed. "I have concluded that Dr. Duran's behavior does not rise to scientific misconduct," wrote Robert A. Peterson, the research integrity officer, in a memo dated Friday. "Consequently, a formal investigation is not required."
Duran issued a brief statement thanking those who have stood by her. "I am extraordinarily grateful for the support of my colleagues, my community, and our students during this time," she said. "I'm honored to lead such an incredible group of people."
In April, a similar inquiry by Western Kentucky University cleared Annette Parker, president of South Central College, in Faribault, Minn., of plagiarism allegations on the blog.
Ryan Magnus, a Mankato lawyer and a co-author of the blog, said he had been hoping for a fuller investigation. "We are disappointed but unsurprised in the outcome," he said. Nicole Helget, his co-author and a former teacher, agreed. "I'll only add that a careful reading of the letter … might cause one to rethink the use of the word 'cleared.' "