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AP says plagiarism ‘new conservative weapon’ against higher ed

Journalist Christopher Rufo announces ‘fund’ for ‘plagiarism hunting’

Identifying instances of plagiarism is a “weapon” conservatives plan to use “against colleges,” the Associated Press wrote in the aftermath of Harvard University President Claudine Gay resigning.

The AP reported:

The campaign against Gay and other Ivy League presidents has become part of a broader right-wing effort to remake higher education, which has often been seen as a bastion of liberalism. Republican detractors have sought to gut funding for public universities, roll back tenure and banish initiatives that make colleges more welcoming to students of color, disabled students and the LGBTQ+ community. They also have aimed to limit how race and gender are discussed in classrooms.

The AP credited people such as Christopher Rufo for leading the charge, along with The Washington Free Beacon, which also highlighted Gay’s plagiarism.

“I am contributing an initial $10,000 to a ‘plagiarism hunting’ fund,” Rufo wrote on X prior to the AP. “We will expose the rot in the Ivy League and restore truth, rather than racialist ideology, as the highest principle in academic life.”

The AP received criticism for its framing of the issue, with X appending a “Community Notes” fact-check to the original post.

“Plagiarism is a breach of rules for Harvard University,” the Community Note stated. “Claudine Gay was ultimately forced to resign for a series of breaches of this policy.”

“Plagiarism – or application of the rules around plagiarism – therefore cannot be considered a ‘weapon,'” the note stated.

Jonathan Kay of Quillete noted in a response that the AP forbids plagiarism.

Gay’s resignation drew criticism from some black scholars who claimed it was racism that forced out Gay.

“Racist mobs won’t stop until they topple all Black people from positions of power and influence who are not reinforcing the structure of racism,” Boston University Professor Ibram Kendi wrote. His own “antiracist” center is currently facing a university investigation over its general management culture and its use of grants after former affiliates, including a black professor, raised concerns with the university.

The former Harvard president, who will retain her nearly $900K professor job, cited “racial animus” in her resignation letter.

Her resignation also came after an apathetic response to a question about antisemitism on campus during a Congressional hearing in early December 2023.

MORE: 72 things higher ed declared racist in 2023

IMAGE: Associated Press


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