Congress expands scope of Harvard investigation to include allegations of president’s plagiarism

A House of Representatives committee has expanded its inquiry against Harvard University’s handling of antisemitism on campus to include its embattled President Claudine Gay, who is facing a myriad of plagiarism allegations. The chair of the Committee on Education and the Workforce, Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-VA, sent a four-page letter Wednesday to Penny Pritzker, the head of the school’s governing board, alleging that Harvard University applies a different standard of academic integrity to faculty members than to students. The committee cited the university’s Honor Code as justification for the probe. “The Harvard College Honor Code, which is ‘in effect for the academic community of Harvard College beginning in Fall 2015,’ provides: Members of the Harvard College community commit themselves to producing academic work of integrity,” Rep. Foxx wrote. “Does Harvard hold its faculty and academic leadership to the same standards?” EMBATTLED HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT CLAUDINE GAY HIT WITH MORE PLAGIARISM CHARGES The Republican representative highlighted the Ivy League university’s use of federal funding, saying that the funds are contingent on Harvard maintaining compliance with its accreditor, the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). NECHE requires that accredited universities “works to prevent cheating and plagiarism as well as to deal forthrightly with any instances in which they occur,” the letter said. HARVARD STUDENT SAYS THE DECISION TO KEEP THE PRESIDENT IS ‘PART OF A REALLY LARGE TOXIC CULTURE’ ON CAMPUS Rep. Foxx said that Harvard holds its students to the NECHE standards of plagiarism. “Harvard does hold its students to these high academic and ethical standards: in the 2021-22 school year, the Harvard College Honor Council investigated 42 incidents of plagiarism, 35 allegations of exam cheating, and 19 other Honor Code violations.12 70 of these 100 cases resulted in a finding of responsibility, and 46 resulted in academic probation or mandatory withdrawal,” the letter said. “Again, does Harvard hold its faculty – and its own president – to the same standards?” The letter said that the committee’s “concern” is that if plagiarism standards are not “applied consistently,” then it “cheapens” the university’s academic credibility. “Our concern is that standards are not being applied consistently, resulting in different rules for different members of the academic community,” the letter said. “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.” HARVARD BOARD STANDS BY EMBATTLED PRESIDENT CLAUDINE GAY, ADMITS ‘INADEQUATE CITATION’ IN SOME WRITINGS The House Committee on Education and the Workforce demanded Pritzker produce internal documents on allegations of Gay’s plagiarism, disciplinary actions taken against students at the school accused of plagiarism and communications with the NECHE. Foxx asked Pritzker to provide a written response by Dec. 29, 2023. On Dec. 12, scholars alleged that Gay “definitely” plagiarized almost 20 authors in four of her 11 peer-reviewed academic papers, including her doctoral dissertation. The Manhattan Institute’s Christopher Rufo and Karlstack’s Chris Brunet published the initial report alleging plagiarism by Gay. NAACP LEADER DEFENDS HARVARD PRESIDENT CLAUDINE GAY, SAYS CRITICS ARE ‘ADVANCING A WHITE SUPREMACIST AGENDA’ Rufo and Brunet lay out several instances of alleged plagiarism by Gay, including taking a full paragraph from Franklin Gilliam’s and Lawrence Bobo’s paper “Race, Sociopolitical Participation, and Black Empowerment,” which Gay used nearly verbatim in her 1997 Harvard political science doctoral dissertation, “Taking Charge: Black Electoral Success and the Redefinition of American Policies.” The pair noted that while Gay referenced both Bobo and Gilliam in the paper, she did not use quotation marks for the language she pulled and only changed a few words. The Washington Free Beacon analyzed 29 potential instances of plagiarism in Gay’s work that appeared to be lifted from almost a dozen scholars. In at least 10 instances, Gay used complete sentences and paragraphs from sources with minor changes to only a few words, the report states. CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP The majority of the scholars told the Free Beacon that Gay not only went against her university’s policy on plagiarism but also a basic principle of academic integrity. Harvard did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News Digital. Fox News’ Houston Keene and Joe Schoffstall contributed to this report.
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