Allegations of Plagiarism Forces Unexpected Resignation of Harvard President Claudine Gay
Following widespread public criticism for being revealed as a plagiarist and displaying antisemitic views, Gay resigns from the esteemed university.
Claudine Gay was touted as the first black president of Harvard, taking office on July 1, 2023, with many celebrating her as a beacon of diversity and inclusion. But Gay’s tenure was the shortest in the university’s history with Gay resigning on January 2, 2024, amidst a whirlwind of allegations including plagiarism, and after harsh criticism for her statements and lack of action on the growing antisemitism on Harvard’s campus following the October 7th Israeli massacre inflicted by Hamas.
Christopher Rufo, a conservative activist and senior fellow with the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, along with Christopher Brunet, journalist and contributing editor at The American Conservative shed light on Claudine Gay's alleged plagiarism in her dissertation and multiple articles she has authored in an expose on Substack entitled, “Is Claudine Gay a Plagiarist?”
In this piece, Rufo and Brunet include examples of Gay’s work and contrast those with examples from the works of others, including Franklin Gilliam and Carol Swain.
Rufo and Brunet issued a call to action for Harvard to issue a full investigation of Gay, citing examples of a precedent set by other universities wherein former Presidents were forced to resign amidst plagiarism accusations.
Rufo recently appeared on a Fox News segment titled ‘Life, Liberty, & Levin,’ wherein he explained progressive's defense of Gay and how his goal is to topple not only Gay, but Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) practices of elite universities as a whole:
“...Claudine Gay was the symbol of the DEI regime that has conquered American academic life. They prioritize race and sex or ancestry and anatomy over scholarly merit, over fairness, over equality, over every other principle. And so, the Left had to come to her defense because she represented the top prize. And that’s why I fought so hard both exposing the plagiarism and also putting pressure on Harvard to topple her because I knew that we were going to expose their contradictions, we were going to make it very uncomfortable, and we ultimately force them to make a choice: was Harvard going to prioritize truth or racialist ideology. Ultimately it became untenable because donors, the American people, and political leaders, like Elise Stefanik, said that it was not gonna be possible to continue as they did and, very thankfully,…Claudine Gay is now gone, we’ve exposed the DEI regime and there’s much more to come.”
In another article, Rufo says Gay was injecting DEI into the prestigious school at every level.
“Throughout Gay’s career at Harvard—as professor, dean, and president—racialist ideology has driven her scholarship, administrative priorities, and rise through the institution… “Between 2018 and the summer of 2023, as the dean of the largest faculty on campus, Gay oversaw the university’s racially discriminatory admissions program, which the Supreme Court found unconstitutional.”
Supporters of Gay have done little to curb the plagiarism allegations, instead, they are adamant that the attacks on her character and career are racially motivated.
Ibram X. Kendi has made several posts on 𝕏 claiming that Gay was removed from her position of power solely because she is black:
“Racist mobs won’t stop until they topple all Black people from positions of power and influence who are not reinforcing the structure of racism. What these racist mobs are doing should be obvious to any reporter who cares about truth or justice as opposed to conflicts and clicks.”
In another post, Kendi goes on to say that an overrepresentation of white people in positions of authority isn’t due to achieving their positions based on merit, but rather they achieved those positions due to discrimination against minority groups.
Another 𝕏 user writes, “This is infuriating. This was never about plagiarism or anti-semitism. It was about anti-Blackness and humbling Black leaders who don’t show up in ways others feel necessary. This is not surprising.”
“Harvard president's resignation highlights new conservative weapon against colleges: plagiarism”
The article makes the case that this is just the latest in attacks against universities by conservatives, saying:
“In Gay’s case, many academics were troubled with how the plagiarism came to light: as part of a coordinated campaign to discredit Gay and force her from office, in part because of her involvement in efforts for racial justice on campus.”
Harvard’s plagiarism standards are strict and include several different forms of stealing intellectual property including Verbatim, word-for-word copying, and Mosaic plagiarism, taking small pieces from a source or multiple sources without proper citation, as well as inadequate or uncited paraphrasing.
Harvard specifically states,
“It's not enough to change a few words here and there and leave the rest; instead, you must completely restate the ideas in the passage in your own words. If your own language is too close to the original, then you are plagiarizing, even if you do provide a citation.”
Upon an independent review, The Harvard Corporation acknowledged the duplicative language within Gay’s work but did not think the offense amounted to misconduct. However, Gay has since submitted corrections to multiple articles, as reported by The Harvard Crimson:
“On December 9, the Fellows reviewed the results, which revealed a few instances of inadequate citation…While the analysis found no violation of Harvard’s standards for research misconduct, President Gay is proactively requesting four corrections in two articles to insert citations and quotation marks that were omitted from the original publications.”
In the 2020-2021 academic year, 27 students were forced to withdraw from Harvard for academic misconduct and violations of the Harvard honor code, with another 56 students placed on academic probation, and still another 10 given warnings about their academic behavior, according to The Harvard Crimson.
In a more recent article on Substack, Brunet explains how Gay’s thesis was built upon the works of Gary King, who is Gay’s mentor. Brunet claims that King’s work is also rife with plagiarism and that he attempted to suppress criticisms of his work by putting pressure on the editor of a political science journal to prolong the publication of a paper that levied heavy criticism against King. After the paper was initially accepted by Cambridge University’s American Political Science Review, it was withdrawn.
“This reversal was driven by pressure from Gary King. The APSR editor, acting at the behest of King (or so the story goes, confirmed by multiple anonymous sources), attempted to discourage the authors by repeatedly asking for revisions and resubmissions, a tactic that prolonged the review process over 3 (three) years (!!) with the continuous introduction of new reviewers.”
According to the New York Post, although Gay has resigned from her position as President, she will remain within the faculty of Harvard and keep her salary of almost $900,000.00, or something comparable to it. Harvard’s current interim president is Alan Garber who was serving as the university’s Chief Academic Officer.
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