Harvard president Claudine Gay denies new plagiarism charges

Originally published at: Harvard President in Plagiarism Scandal Over 1997 Thesis


The board and donors are obviously gunning for Dr. Gay. An accusation like this doesn’t appear out of nowhere decades later. This was banked against her.

That said, Gay’s answer to Stefanik’s loaded and easily-anticipated question was an extremely poor and wishy-washy one (as she acknowledged after the damage had been done). There’s absolutely no context, including academic freedom, in which a member of her school’s community calling for the genocide of any ethnic, racial or religious group – Jews, Black people, Muslims, etc. – is not a form of bullying and harassment. If a far-right Jewish student or professor at Harvard was calling for the genocide of Palestinians (even once), that would be equally and unequivocally unacceptable.

The dismal and evasive performance of the Ivy presidents in the hearings has also opened the door for chin-stroking neoliberal and anti-intellectual BS articles like this:


Yeah, that would make things better: limiting university administration to MBAs, lawyers, and politicians./s

At least school administrators are wising up to imposing consequences on protestors so boneheaded and bigoted that even those sympathetic to the cause condemn them.



Ugh, “Rufo” immediately set off alarm bells…

I am 99% sure that Christopher Rufo (right-wing asshole responsible for the critical race theory panic, among other awful things) saw Hbomberguy’s video on plagiarism and was “inspired” to start searching for plagiarism in the work of anyone he doesn’t like. I’m not defending the plagiarism (if any actually exists), but unlike Hbomb, I highly doubt that Rufo actually cares about academic theft beyond its use as a weapon.

He might not be wrong in this case, he’s just a colossally-cynical asshole doing this for all the wrong reasons.

EDIT: Acknowledging that the accusation itself is pretty suspect. Rufo can fuck off either way.


Complete garbage. The supposedly plagiarized lines in question explicitly start out “Bobo and Gilliam found that”, in no way does Gay appear to suggest that those statements or conclusions were her own.

Both right- and left-leaning media are perpetuating a circus of pointing cameras at & imparting validity to conspiracy theorists & partisan muckrakers. Chasing ratings & clicks with 'both-sides-ism" as we all spiral downward together.


He said Monday, “I find myself unconcerned about these claims as our work was explicitly acknowledged.”

If the work is explicitly acknowledged, it’s not plagiarism. What the hell is going on here? Someone with a grievance promoting false charges?


Yes, there is someone promoting false charges. It’s not a personal grievance, though. It’s a front in the all-consuming Culture Wars.


The fact that it’s coming from Rufo, right after that shit with Stefanik should give us all pause. They don’t give two shits about antisemitism or about academic integrity. They want to tear down the what they see as a institution dedicated to “liberal” values, and replace it with a right wing institutions that serve only white men.

Stop treating these people as if they care about anything other than their own power. THEY ARE FASCISTS.

Stefanik make shit up. Intifada does not mean what she said it does. How about we stop letting them dictate terms here.

There are very much problems with the Ivies and with academia itself. It’s not the problems that people like Rufo and Stefanik claim…

Once again these fascist nihilists are looking to tear down ALL of our institutions. While most certainly not perfect, what they seek to replace them with are downright frightening.

Pop Tv Yes GIF by Schitt's Creek


I agree, but Stefanik was asking the questions at the hearing. You know Stefanik makes things up, I know it too, why should the president of bloody Harvard have been caught off-guard?

The proper answer to the MAGAt’s BS question from all the university presidents was “Yes, obviously. Next question”. If Stefanik had another BS gotcha questiosn ready as a follow-up to that, those are also easily anticipated by anyone who knows how these arseholes work. If she wants to misdefine “intifada” or “jihad” or other terms, I think a Harvard professor would be able to correct her with some authority.


I don’t know, but maybe she was expecting integrity?

She’s the president.


Occasionally, I’m marking students and find they have quoted material without making it is clear that it is a quotation. They should either apply a different style, or by place it inside quotation marks and reference the source appropriately. In these cases I add a comment that this not how to do it, point them to the relevant guidance and tell them to make sure they do it properly next time. Unless large chunks of the work have been copied, improper quotation is not enough to fail a student. It is a chance for them to develop their study skills.

In something like a PhD thesis which can run to hundreds of pages of often closely-argued text; things slip through that should have been caught by the author or their supervisors. It’s not evidence of malice, it happens because students and supervisors are human.

This sounds like someone is trying to leverage Dr. Gay out of her position by whatever means possible.


Kenan Thompson Reaction GIF by Saturday Night Live

This is what is happening. Again, Rufo doesn’t give two shits about academic integrity.


Having been around academics all of my life (including one who ran for the office of president of his school before being supplanted by a political appointment), that assumes a level of naivety I just can’t attribute to someone who was able to rise to the presidency of any American university – especially a woman of colour who knows better than most how dirty and petty academic politics can get. I know you’re a professor and perhaps you’ve had a different experience of departmental and administrative politics, but from what I’ve heard that would be the exception.

That aside, anyone who follows the news knows that the terms “Stefanik” and “integrity” are mutually exclusive.

Scumbags like Rufo can’t stand to see a Black woman, or any woman, achieve a high position like Dr. Gay did. I’m sure he’s been banking this BS plagiarism accusation ever since she was floated as a candidate for the presidency of Harvard.


I mean, I’ve been around academics for the last 20 years, and I can very much believe in this level of naivety… Plenty of academics have bought into the ideology of the meritocracy - even POC, even women. :woman_shrugging:

I don’t know why she answered the questions like she did. But that doesn’t mean that Stefanik wasn’t intentionally trying to trip her up. The problem here is Stefanik, and now Rufo… As @catsidhe - this is very much these all-consuming culture wars. It’s pretty clear that most of the academy would rather let them have their way than to fight for something better. The past 20 years of gutting of institutions of higher learning has continued unabated. It’s given us shit work for the overglut of Phds, and no one takes academics seriously anymore, thanks to what’s been allowed to happen.


Ultimately, yes. And MAGAism in general. The only way to make sure they can’t misdefine terms and ask BS questions in Congressional hearings is to make sure they’re not elected in the first place.


i agree ben affleck GIF


Well said.

I’m also bothered by the persistence of congress and the media in presuming that the leaders of the Ivies speak for all of academia.

There are currently around 14 million people enrolled in colleges and universities in the U.S. Less than 100,000 of them are enrolled at Ivies. I understand that the most exclusive institutions are (unfortunately) typically the path to power in our society, but what happens at Harvard has very little to do with what happens at Georgia State.


This too… however, I’m gonna call out my own institution for problems as well. They’ve very much bought into the corporate model of academia. They have not done away with the humanities, but it’s very clear that there is much less interest in supporting those types of programs - which, and I can’t stress this enough, are necessary for the smooth running of a democracy!!! And the people in the departments seemed to have bought into that mindset as well.


Chris Brunet seems a similar type to Rufo.

Rufo has never cared about academic honesty before, so this is probably a hit job.

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Yeah, like I said… :woman_shrugging:

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This is all working as intended… to reinstall wealthy white men at the top of society and to ensure that the gains we’ve made in equality are destroyed.