Harvard University President Claudine Gay — already under scrutiny over her contentious Dec. 5 testimony to Congress concerning campus anti-semitism — is facing renewed scrutiny over allegations she plagiarized major portions of her PhD dissertation.
Gay, along with the presidents of the University of Pennsylvania (Penn.) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) were invited to testify in front of the House Education and Workforce Committee on what each institution was doing to combat anti-semitism.
The invitation followed in the wake of the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks and widespread pro-Palestine activism on campus, which had frequently veered into displays of pro-Hamas or anti-semitic sentiments.
One particular interaction that Gay had with Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) has caused Gay to face significant criticism, including from top Harvard alums who have called on her to resign.
“Does calling for the genocide of Jews violate Harvard’s rules on bullying and harassment?” asked Rep. Stefanik.
“If the context of that language used amounts to bullying and harassment, we take action against it,” answered Gay.
Stefanik asked the same question again, and Gay again refused to give a simple answer.
Following the congressional hearing, Gay apologized for her comments in an interview with Harvard’s campus newspaper, The Harvard Crimson.
On Sunday night, as the board of Harvard University was set to meet to discuss Gay’s future, conservative journalist Christopher Rufo produced evidence that strongly suggested Gay had plagiarized significant portions of her PhD dissertation.
Rufo, along with co-author Christopher Brunet, released an article with examples of Gay’s writing compared to older, previously published academic works.
In her writing Gay does reference the authors of the original paper, but as Rufo and Brunet point out, Gay “uses their verbatim language, with a few trivial synonym substitutions, without providing quotation marks.”
Throughout their article, the two authors provide several similar examples of blatant plagiarism — a practice that would, under Harvard’s rules for students, lead to disciplinary action as severe as expulsion.
The plagiarism accusations quickly went viral Sunday night, with Rufo’s original posts amassing more than 10 million views.
Yet Gay’s future at Harvard remains uncertain, and many with ties to the university have voiced support for her continued leadership at the school
More than 650 Harvard faculty members have signed a letter in support of Gay, according to The Harvard Crimson; however, that letter was published prior to the plagiarism allegations.
The professors who signed this letter asserted that the attempt to get Gay fired is politically motivated.
In their letter, they told Harvard decision makers to “defend the independence of the university and to resist political pressures that are at odds with Harvard’s commitment to academic freedom, including calls for the removal of President Claudine Gay.”
Just days after her testifying in front of Congress alongside Gay, Penn. President Elizabeth Magill resigned.