Alejandro Zaera-Polo was accused of plagiarism in the speech for Facade section in the exhibition and asked to resign soon. Alejandro is an outstanding architect who proved his professionalism by working hard. He is originally from Madrid, Spain and worked under Rem Koolhaas supervision in Rotterdam. After that he established Foreign Office Architects in London, and his companion was Farshid Moussavi.
Alejandro successfully proved his years of work experience and was suggested to take up a position as architecture dean at Princeton university. For many years he has been a decent representative of the School of Architecture at Princeton university until he was accused of plagiarism that was found in his speech at Venice Architecture Biennale containing extracts from the e-net texts and some of Wikipedia.
Christopher Eisgruber, the president of New Jersey university, asked the architect to resign. That happened because Alejandro removed citations, so the text looked like totally his. The scandal became far too obvious after Biennale curator Rem Koolhaas sent a letter to Princeton university highlighting the problem of trust, saying that Mr. Zaera-Polo didn’t follow the university policy on plagiarism, and that was simultaneously an indicator that he wanted to “breach the rules of the university”.
Alejandro wanted to prove his innocence, and wrote a letter to Princeton university officials and students and gave a comparison of his paper and a possible source of plagiarism. That was just ommitted as university didn’t give any comments. Moreover, Alejandro’s statement was removed from the university website.
All the Pricenton’s reaction to the architect dean’s resignation was the following: “While we normally do not comment on personnel matters, we do need to point out that Professor Zaero-Polo’s statement regarding the circumstances surrounding his resignation as dean of the School of Architecture is inaccurate and incomplete”.
In a year, Alejandro filed a suit to the Superior Court of New Jersey saying that his former employer caused him damages and legal costs. Alejandro’s lawyers passed a complaint to the court that says “This is an action for breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, tortious interference with prospective economic advantage, trade libel, and defamation”. The claim also stated an “aggressive treatment” of the architect.
Princeton university officials didn’t respond to that claim, and later, a vacant position of the architect dean was submitted by another architect Monica Ponce de Leon who previously obtained the positions of a professor at several universities including Harvard Graduate School of Design where she had been working for 12 years.
A similar dismissal happened at Arizona State University where plagiarism was spotted in one of a professor’s books.