Home>Campaigns>Princeton claims ‘no credible allegations of data manipulation’ after initial review of Wang, but not all employees were interviewed

Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey. (Photo: Princeton University).

Princeton claims ‘no credible allegations of data manipulation’ after initial review of Wang, but not all employees were interviewed

By David Wildstein, May 02 2022 9:42 am

Update: Princeton University declined on Monday to identify who conducted the “initial review” of Wang’s data related to New Jersey congressional redistricting.

Princeton University has a new hot take on their investigation of Sam Wang, the director of the Princeton Gerrymandering Project, saying they know of “no credible allegations of data manipulation” connected to their work as advisors to the Congressional Redistricting Commission.

Princeton was asked specifically about research misconduct allegations when they were asked about investigations into Wang on April 27, and their spokesman, Michael Hotchkiss, released a written statement that day acknowledging that “a review is pending” but eluded details.  Wang, in a call with the New Jersey Globe, declined comment.

While congressional redistricting was completed in December, it appears that Princeton University was able to complete “an initial review” in the 31 hours since the New Jersey Globe report was published.

“Based on an initial review conducted after the Congressional Redistricting Commission completed its work, the University knows of no credible allegations of data manipulation pertaining to the work product delivered to the commission,” said Michael E. Hotchkiss.
They offer no explanation of how they define “credible allegations.”

There is no mention of toxic workplace complaints filed against Wang, allegations confirmed by top Princeton University Human Resources officials in emails, memorandums and letters obtained by the New Jersey Globe.

The New Jersey Globe interviewed multiple present and former employees of the Princeton Gerrymandering Project, as well as other with direct knowledge of New Jersey’s redistricting process. We chose not to release their names or identifying factors to protect their anonymity.  They fear retaliation from Wang and the University.

But some dispute Princeton’s representation that the matter received a through and thoughtful review.  Not all of the individuals who worked on redistricting matters for the internal investigation were interviewed, including all that remain employed by the University.

In earlier interviews, one former Princeton employee predicted that the university would do nothing.

“This will be whitewashed.  I’m sure there will be a whitewash,” the individual told the New Jersey Globe.  “Sam is too important to Princeton.  He brings in a lot of money.  They figure this out, even if they have to ruin other careers.”

Ultimately, it could take a law enforcement probe to determine whether Wang’s adjusted data to fit his own agenda – in New Jersey or any other state — or if he cheated.   Senate Minority Leader Steven Oroho (R-Franklin) has asked the State Commission of Investigation to launch an investigation.  He says it’s within their authority, since Wang personally received over $15,000 in state funds  to serve as an advisor to the independent redistricting tiebreaker, John E. Wallace, Jr.

The new statement sidestepped mention of the allegedly hostile workplace environment complaints lodged against Wang.  It’s not clear when Princeton conducted their partial investigation, if it is complete – the statement said “initial review” – and whether there was an “initial review” into allegations that Wang abused his staff or retaliated against them in any way.

The New Jersey Globe asked for a copy of their full statement on Friday, after part of it appeared in a tweet from a New York Times reporter, but that did not arrive until Monday morning.

Editor’s Note: To be clear, the New Jersey Globe stands by our reporting on the Princeton Cheating Scandal.  Princeton’s written statement changed between Wednesday and Friday of last week.  Princeton University, the Princeton Gerrymandering Project, the Princeton Innovation Lab, and Wang have the option of publicly releasing the full set of data they provided to Justice Wallace – data he said in court filings he used to determine his vote.  Releasing the data could obviate any appearance of cheating by making it available for public review or scrutiny and allow greater transparency of congressional redistricting negotiations that remained behind closed doors. 

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