Harvard Makes Additional Troubling Findings as It Digs Into President’s Past: Report

Harvard Makes Additional Troubling Findings as It Digs Into President’s Past: Report

As allegations of plagiarism swirl around Harvard president Claudine Gay, more fuel has been added to the fire.

Harvard said a review of Gay’s 1997 Ph.D. dissertation found additional examples of “duplicative language without appropriate attribution,” according to The Boston Globe.

“President Gay will update her dissertation correcting these instances of inadequate citation,” a summary of the report said.

Last week, Harvard’s governing board admitted there were “a few instances of inadequate citation” in two articles by Gay, but indicated the matter would be settled by Gay requesting corrections from the journals in which those articles were published.

The board issued a public endorsement of Gay amid the scandal and criticism of congressional testimony this month in which Gay refused to say whether calls for the genocide of Jews violated Harvard’s code of conduct.

Now, despite the discovery of additional flaws in Gay’s writing, Harvard is still sticking by her.

The board concluded that the “inadequate citation” in Gay’s dissertation “did not constitute research misconduct” because it was not done “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly.”

A congressional inquiry into Harvard’s handling of the plagiarism allegations was announced on Wednesday, just a few hours before the board’s findings were released.


Carol Swain, a political scientist and former professor at Vanderbilt University whose work was used by Gay, said she was “livid” about how Harvard is shrugging off the incident, according to The New York Times.

“I also have a concern that Harvard University decides it gets to redefine what plagiarism is when it suits its needs,” she said. “That to me is unacceptable.”

Within Harvard, some also found the administrative support for Gay’s actions untenable.

“It’s troubling to see the standards we apply to undergrads seem to differ from the standards we apply to faculty,” said Theda Skocpol, a professor of government.

In the wider academic community, the allegations against Gay have prompted criticism.

“If this were a stand-alone instance, it would be reprehensible but perhaps excused as the blunder of someone working hastily,” said Peter Wood, a former associate provost of Boston University, according to The Washington Free Beacon.

“But that excuse vanishes as the examples multiply,” he said.

One professor suggested Harvard’s image is being sullied.

“The question here is whether the president of an elite institution such as Harvard can feasibly have an academic record this marred by obvious plagiarism,” said Alexander Riley, a sociologist at Bucknell University.

“I do not see how Harvard could possibly justify keeping her in that position in light of this evidence.”

As the allegations came to light earlier this month, Gay defended herself in a statement, according to The Boston Globe.

“I stand by the integrity of my scholarship. Throughout my career, I have worked to ensure my scholarship adheres to the highest academic standards,” she said.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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