Harvard Defends Plagiarism Probe Of Former President Who Quit


Harvard University said it followed a fair and rigorous process to investigate allegations of plagiarism against its former president, Claudine Gay, who resigned earlier this month amid controversy investigating how the university handled the charges.

“We take any allegation or concern regarding our standards and policies very seriously,” according to Harvard’s statement. “We also recognize our responsibility to investigate and assess the validity of any such allegation, and to do so in a manner that is fair and impartial for all, including those accused of violations.”

The statement outlines how Harvard received a list of 25 allegations of plagiarism against Gay from a New York Post reporter in October.

In response, Harvard Corp., the university’s governing board, appointed a four-person subcommittee that included Shirley Tilghman, a former Princeton University president, and former justice of the Supreme Court of California, Mariano-Florentino Cuellar, to direct an investigation. They, along with an independent panel of political scientists, reviewed the claims.

They found some instances of inadequate citation, but no violations of school policy or instances of research misconduct, according to the statement. Gay submitted several corrections.

Gay, the first Black person to lead Harvard University, resigned on Jan. 2, after six months in the job. She faced pressure from donors, Congress and the public over the plagiarism allegations, along with criticism over her failure to condemn Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel and adequately address rising antisemitism on campus.

Gay and her counterparts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Pennsylvania also drew widespread backlash for their testimony before Congress on Dec. 5, when they gave narrow legal responses over whether calling for the genocide of Jews is against school policy.

The House Education and the Workforce Committee, which is conducting the plagiarism investigation, confirmed it obtained Harvard’s statement.

“We received documents related to the plagiarism investigation outlined in our December letter and are currently reviewing them,” said a spokesperson for the committee.



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