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

Harvard President Claudine Gay appears to have plagiarized sections of Ph.D. dissertation, according to research published Sunday evening by Christopher Rufo.

“First, Gay lifts an entire paragraph nearly verbatim from Lawrence Bobo and Franklin Gilliam’s paper, ‘Race, Sociopolitical Participation, and Black Empowerment,’ while passing it off as her own paraphrase and language,” Rufo reported on his Substack along with journalist Christopher Brunet.

“Though Gay does provide a reference to the original authors, she uses their verbatim language, with a few trivial synonym substitutions, without providing quotation marks,” he reported.

“…Gay repeats this violation throughout the document, again using work from Bobo and Gilliam, as well as passages from Richard Shingles, Susan Howell, and Deborah Fagan, which she reproduces nearly verbatim, without quotation marks.”

Rufo posted screenshots of the comparisons on his X account, arguing the examples are violations of Harvard’s academic integrity policy.

Rufo wrote on his Substack that in her dissertation “Gay also uses identical language to [Carol] Swain, without adding quotation marks, as required.” He also noted that in several instances in the appendix, Gay lifted “entire phrases and sentences” from Gary King’s book, “A Solution to the Ecological Inference Problem.”

“While she cites King’s book—in fact, King was her dissertation advisor—Gay does not explicitly acknowledge that Appendix B is entirely grounded in King’s concepts, instead passing it off as her own original work,” he wrote.

He concludes his post by calling on Harvard’s Board of Overseers to conduct an investigation, arguing “the dissertation is the cornerstone of an academic career, and universities impose demanding standards of academic integrity, with severe consequences for violators.”

Gay has not responded to Rufo’s request for comment.

Rufo’s claims quickly went viral on Sunday night, garnering responses from everyone from Elon Musk to Not The Bee.

The news comes as Gay faces steep criticism for how she handed her testimony before Congress last week after she argued calls on campus for the “genocide of Jews” did not amount to bullying or harassment. She has since apologized for her lackluster testimony, the New York Times reported.

Harvard donors also pulled their support en masse in October after Gay’s initial statement on the Hamas attacks against Israel did not condemn the terrorism that killed 1,200 civilians.

“The Harvard board is meeting tonight and there are rumors that the plagiarism scandal could be the final nail in Gay’s coffin,” Rufo posted Sunday on X.

MORE: Higher ed’s hypocrisy fully exposed for refusal to condemn calls to eradicate Jews

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