Voz media US Voz.us

Harvard president accused of plagiarism in her doctoral dissertation

Journalist Christopher Rufo exposed several instances in which Claudine Gay allegedly "reproduces nearly verbatim" from other works.

Claudine Gay

(Wikimedia Commons- C-SPAN)

Published by

Harvard University President Claudine Gay became the center of a new scandal after journalist Christopher Rufo published a report accusing Gay of plagiarizing sections of her doctoral dissertation.

Rufo claimed that he obtained exclusive documentation showing at least three instances of plagiarism that Gay committed in the dissertation she submitted in 1997 as part of her Ph.D. in political science at Harvard.

According to the report, the dissertation titled "Taking Charge: Black Electoral Success and the Redefinition of American Policies" contains a paragraph that "reproduces nearly verbatim" from the article titled "Race, Sociopolitical Participation, and Black Empowerment" by Lawrence Bobo and Franklin Gilliam.

Rufo pointed out that this paragraph directly violates Harvard policy because, although Gay states that it is a paraphrase, the university's guidelines state that paraphrasing is "to distill the source's ideas in your own words" and not simply changing a few words.

Rufo noted that Gay also appeared to take material from legal scholar Carol Swain's book, "Black Faces, Black Interests," without giving proper credit to the source.

"Gay's use of Swain's material is a straightforward violation of the university's rule (...) which states that one 'must give credit to the author of the source material, either by placing the source material in quotation marks and providing a clear citation, or by paraphrasing the source material and providing a clear citation'—neither of which Gay followed," he said.

Finally, Rufo's report highlights that Gay also did not explicitly acknowledge that she took an entire appendix from Gary King's book, "A Solution to the Ecological Inference Problem."

"While she cites King's book later in the appendix—in fact, King was her dissertation advisor—Gay does not explicitly acknowledge that Appendix B is entirely grounded in King's concepts and language, instead passing it off as her own original work," the reporter stated.

"What should the consequences be for President Gay, given these violations?" questioned Rufo in his report while urging the Harvard Board of Overseers to conduct a full investigation into the case. "If she has violated the code of academic conduct, she must resign—or get voted out by the board," he added.

Gay denies plagiarism

Following the accusation, Gay gave a statement about her integrity and academic standards. "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.

However, this accusation does not come at a good time for the Harvard president, who is also under fire for anti-Semitic comments she made during a congressional hearing.

From Harvard alumni to business leaders and politicians have criticized Gay's stance on anti-Semitism, and although Gay publicly apologized for the comments she made before Congress, many have even called for her resignation.