Five months after abruptly stepping down as dean of the School of Architecture, Alejandro Zaera-Polo issued a public statement in March about his resignation.
“My sudden departure as dean was requested by President Eisgruber following my acknowledgment that I had removed all citations from my contribution to the publication accompanying the exhibition ‘Elements of Architecture’ at the Venice Biennale 2014,” said Zaera-Polo, who remains a professor of architecture. The international event is a showcase of architectural trends and research.
Admitting that his actions “were unorthodox in an academic setting,” Zaera-Polo said he had not “breached any moral, ethical, or other applicable standards” and that the citations were removed to make the publication “more accessible for the general public.”
He acknowledged “a few instances of paraphrasis, which would have required citation if they were to meet strict academic standards,” but said they were inadvertent and presented information “easily available from multiple sources on [the] Internet.”
Terming Zaero-Polo’s comments “inaccurate and incomplete,” University spokesman Martin Mbugua said the dean was asked to resign “because of statements he made in writing that indicated he was unfamiliar with the University’s policies on plagiarism and that he may have directed his collaborators to breach the rules of the University.”
Zaera-Polo said that as dean he had tried to move the architecture school away from “a self-referential system” and increase its engagement with industry, the community, and the public. He said the school’s “theoretical inclination” should continue, but focus on areas such as entrepreneurship and new technologies and media.