Harvard admits more instances of ‘duplicative language’ found in President Gay’s work amid plagiarism claims

Harvard admitted it has found more instances of “duplicative language” in President Claudine Gay’s academic work on Wednesday, as the House also expanded its probe into the Ivy League school, demanding to know whether students and the university’s leader were held to the same standards on plagiarism. 

The Harvard Corporation, the university’s highest governing body, released a summary of a review Wednesday evening saying Gay will request three corrections from Harvard’s Office of the Provost regarding her 1997 Ph.D. dissertation, The Harvard Crimson reported. 

Through additional review, Harvard said it found two additional instances of “duplicative language without appropriate attribution.”

This comes more than a week after the Harvard Corporation said that while “an independent review by distinguished political scientists” of Gay’s work found “no violation of Harvard’s standards for research misconduct,” the university president would be “proactively requesting four corrections in two articles to insert citations and quotation marks that were omitted from the original publications.” Last week, Gay submitted corrections to the two articles published in 2001 and 2017, but Wednesday’s additional findings regarding her 1997 dissertation deliver an embarrassing blow to the prestigious university.


On Tuesday, Harvard’s research integrity officer Stacey Springs reportedly received a complaint detailing more than 40 allegations of plagiarism — ranging from missing quotation marks around a few phrases or sentences to entire paragraphs lifted verbatim – regarding Gay’s academic works, according to a document obtained by the Washington Free Beacon. 

House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., sent a letter to Harvard Corporation Senior Fellow Penny Pritzker on Wednesday demanding more information about the university’s handling of plagiarism allegations against Gay and “the unequal application of Harvard’s Honor Code.” 

Foxx said the committee “has begun a review of Harvard University’s (Harvard) handling of credible allegations of plagiarism by President Claudine Gay over a period of 24 years. An allegation of plagiarism by a top school official at any university would be reason for concern, but Harvard is not just any university. It styles itself as one of the top educational institutions in the country.”

“Our concern is that standards are not being applied consistently, resulting in different rules for different members of the academic community,” Foxx wrote. “If a university is willing to look the other way and not hold faculty accountable for engaging in academically dishonest behavior, it cheapens its mission and the value of its education. Students must be evaluated fairly, under known standards – and have a right to see that faculty are, too.”

The letter cites the Harvard College Honor Code that states: “Members of the Harvard College community commit themselves to producing academic work of integrity – that is, work that adheres to the scholarly and intellectual standards of accurate attribution of sources, appropriate collection and use of data, and transparent acknowledgement of the contribution of others to their ideas, discoveries, interpretations, and conclusions. Cheating on exams or problem sets, plagiarizing or misrepresenting the ideas or language of someone else as one’s own, falsifying data, or any other instance of academic dishonesty violates the standards of our community, as well as the standards of the wider world of learning and affairs.” 


“Does Harvard hold its faculty and academic leadership to the same standards?” Foxx demanded of Pritzker. 

The letter concluded by requesting Harvard hand over all documents and communications concerning the initial allegations of plagiarism and the “independent review” of Gay’s scholarship described in a Dec. 12, 2023, email to Harvard alumni and students; all documents and communications concerning allegations of plagiarism by Gay and the university’s public response to media inquiries about those allegations; and a list of any disciplinary actions taken against Harvard faculty or students on the basis of academic integrity violations, research misconduct, inadequate citation, or other forms of plagiarism, from January 1, 2019, to present. Foxx also asks for any non-public guidelines or policies governing the university’s process for reviewing and adjudicating allegations of plagiarism and any and all communications between Harvard and its regional accreditor regarding its academic dishonesty standard.

The fellows of the Harvard Corporation released a Dec. 12 statement backing Gay despite widespread calls for her resignation following her testimony before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce to address the rise in antisemitism on American campuses in the wake of the Israel-Hamas war. Pressed by Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., Gay failed to clearly state whether calls for intifada or the genocide of Jews would violate the university’s code of conduct or policies against bullying or harassment. Gay issued an apology after the hearing, and the board ultimately stood by her while also addressing allegations of plagiarism regarding Gay’s academic writing first flagged in October.

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