KATY, Texas (FOX 26) - In the community of Katy where the volatile past of school Superintendent Lance Hindt has been a lightning rod for controversy, a fresh allegation has emerged from his detractors.
Writing on the website "A Better Legacy", Sean Dolan contends he's uncovered evidence Hindt copied lines from a fellow educator's scholarly publication and used the material in his own 2012 doctoral dissertation.
Dolan has turned the material over to the University of Houston College of Education and asked for an inquiry into possible academic dishonesty.
"If my daughter brought me a paper like this and I did the same process, I would tell her to go back and do it again," said Dolan.
Dolan says in reviewing Hindt's paper, a computer analysis turned up similar wording in multiple passages with a dissertation written four years earlier at Liberty University.
When reviewed side by side, a handful of the sentences are actually identical while many other phrases are extremely similar.
"I started going through and every sentence, every paragraph, every thought, every conclusion was in the exact same order. I want people who are smarter than I am to look at this and the public to look at this," said Dolan.
In response to an inquiry from FOX 26 a UH spokesman said, "The University of Houston has policies and procedures to ensure academic integrity and address allegations of academic misconduct."
While UH would not comment on Hindt or any other student under scrutiny, a review of university guidelines indicates investigations are automatically triggered on all issues involving academic integrity.
Rice University Political Science Professor Mark Jones has overseen dozens of doctoral dissertations and agreed to review both Hindt's paper and and the document from Liberty.
"He (Hindt) lifted some parts that were boiler plate from another dissertation as well as used similar language, but it's not the type of plagiarism that's the most serious where you are actually stealing somebody else's ideas. I didn't see any of that across this dissertation," said Jones.
While Jones says there are enough clear abnormalities to fully justify an academic review of Superintendent Hindt's dissertation, he does not believe the transgressions warrant a complete retraction of the doctorate degree by UH.
"Perhaps deserving of a minor sanction, but nothing as serious as the revoking of a Ph.D." said Jones.
Dolan, who has very publicly battled with Hindt over unaddressed bullying in Katy ISD, believes parents deserve a thorough review of the man in charge of their children's education.
"72,000 kids are looking up to this man as a leader and I feel it is absolutely within my right to vet and understand who this man is," said Dolan.
“There is zero truth to this allegation,” said Maria DiPetta Katy ISD spokesperson. “We are confident in the degree conferred by the University of Houston.”
Katy ISD School Board President Ashley Vann also commented saying, “This is verifiably false and appears to be a personal attack on Katy ISD and its superintendent of schools. As we’ve said before, Dr. Hindt was fully vetted and the Board continues to stand firmly behind him as the District’s superintendent.”