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Billionaire confirms Harvard president was DEI hire as dozens more plagiarism accusations emerge


Billionaire hedge fund founder Bill Ackman said on X he has confirmed that Harvard University’s selection of Claudine Gay for president was a decision based on diversity, equity and inclusion principles.

“I have confirmed now from multiple sources that the search committee that led to President Gay’s appointment excluded non-DEI eligible candidates from the process,” Ackman, a Harvard alumnus, posted Sunday on X.

The comments were part of a larger letter Ackman wrote to Harvard’s governing boards of directors calling on them to fire Gay.

The memo, which has been viewed over 6.6 million times in the span of 24 hours, came at the same time as Gay faces multiple accusations of plagiarism.

On Sunday, conservative activist Christopher Rufo reported that Gay plagiarized various sections of Ph.D. dissertation, posting screenshots of the comparisons on his X account and arguing the examples are violations of Harvard’s academic integrity policy.

On Monday, the Washington Free Beacon reported their journalists reviewed 29 potential cases of Gay’s plagiarism with a dozen scholars. “Most of them said that Gay had violated a core principle of academic integrity as well as Harvard’s own anti-plagiarism policies,” the Beacon reported.

“[…S]cholars are expected to cite the sources of their work, including when paraphrasing, and to use quotation marks when quoting directly from others. But in at least 10 instances, Gay lifted full sentences—even entire paragraphs—with just a word or two tweaked. …The four papers that include plagiarized material comprise a sizable portion of Gay’s academic work,” the Beacon reported.

“…Other cases of near-verbatim quotation occur in two peer-reviewed journal articles from 2017 and 2012, when Gay was a tenured professor at Harvard, as well as in an essay she published one year out of college, in 1993. Along with her dissertation, the decades-long pattern paints a picture of sloppiness, at best, and willful dishonesty at worst,” it added.

Ackman, in his memo, argued Gay has helmed Harvard’s steep and rapid fall from grace in recent months, especially in the wake of her initial indifference to the Hamas terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians, her shrug at dozens of campus groups blaming Israel for the attacks, and her Congressional testimony last week in which she argued calling for the genocide of Jews on campus is not an example of bullying or harassment.

“President Gay’s failures have led to billions of dollars of cancelled, paused, and withdrawn donations to the university. I am personally aware of more than a billion dollars of terminated donations from a small group of Harvard’s most generous Jewish and non-Jewish alumni. I have been copied and blind copied on numerous letters and emails to the University from alums who have written scathing letters to Gay and/or the Board withdrawing donations,” Ackman wrote.

Citing conversations with Harvard scholars, Ackman also noted that during “her tenure as Dean and now as president, Gay has squelched speech she disfavors while defending and thereby amplifying vile and threatening hate speech, exhibiting a remarkable double standard.”

Editor’s note: The spelling of Bill Ackman’s name has been fixed.

MORE: Harvard President Claudine Gay accused of plagiarizing sections of her Ph.D. dissertation

IMAGE: Politico YouTube screenshot

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About the Author
Fix Editor
Jennifer Kabbany is editor-in-chief of The College Fix.