Harvard President Comes Under Fire Again

This time for allegations of plagiarism as House committee investigates Claudine Gay
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 21, 2023 6:20 AM CST
Harvard President Now Accused of Plagiarism
Harvard President Claudine Gay speaks during a hearing of the House Committee on Education on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File)

Harvard President Claudine Gay, lately facing backlash for her congressional testimony addressing antisemitism on campus, is now accused of plagiarism. A CNN investigation found what it says are clear examples of plagiarism in academic papers she has written, including as a PhD candidate at Harvard in the 1990s. "Gay recently requested corrections for two of her academic papers, but she did not address even clearer examples of plagiarism from earlier in her academic history at the school," CNN reports. The outlet claims Gay, in her 1997 doctoral dissertation, "lifted one paragraph almost verbatim from a paper published in 1996 by scholars without citation and, in another instance, copied specific language without attribution."

An earlier analysis by the Washington Free Beacon found Gay "paraphrased or quoted nearly 20 authors—including two of her colleagues in Harvard University's department of government—without proper attribution" in "four papers published between 1993 and 2017," including in her dissertation, "Taking Charge: Black Electoral Success and the Redefinition of American Politics," which won Harvard's Toppan Prize for best essay or dissertation in political science. "The decades-long pattern paints a picture of sloppiness, at best, and willful dishonesty at worst," per the Free Beacon. According to Harvard's plagiarism policy, "it is considered plagiarism to draw any idea or any language from someone else without adequately crediting that source in your paper."

The university learned of the plagiarism allegations in October. Gay requested corrections to two published articles after a panel of outside scholars uncovered "instances of inadequate citation" but "no violation of Harvard's standards for research misconduct." On Wednesday, however, the university said two more instances of insufficient citation had been found, including in Gay's dissertation, per the New York Times. A House standing committee is conducting a separate review. "Our concern is that standards are not being applied consistently, resulting in different rules for different members of the academic community," Virginia Foxx, chair of the Republican-led Committee on Education and the Workforce, wrote to the leader of Harvard's board on Wednesday, per the BBC. (More Harvard stories.)

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