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Professor plagiarized by Gay attacks Rufo for Harvard Extension School degree

‘Those students are great – I teach them- but they are not the same as what we normally think of as Harvard graduate students’

The ongoing fallout from the resignation of Claudine Gay as president of Harvard University includes rehashing an old argument against conservative journalist Christopher Rufo and his degree from the institution.

Rufo has a master’s degree from Harvard Extension School, which is open enrollment.

Gay copied work from Professor Jennifer Hochschild, including several sentences of an acknowledgement in the former president’s doctoral thesis. She also will reportedly continue to draw a nearly $900,000 salary as a professor despite nearly 50 accusations of plagiarism that covered about half of her published works. But Hochschild turned her sights toward Rufo over the weekend.

“On Rufo: what do integrity police say about his claim to have ‘master’s degree from Harvard,’ which is actually from the open-enrollment Extension School?” she wrote on X. “Those students are great – I teach them- but they are not the same as what we normally think of as Harvard graduate students.”

In a second post she wrote:

Rufo could have proudly and honorably said, “I pulled myself up by bootstraps;to prove it I have master’s degree from Harvard extension school, along with other smart and gutsy students.” Instead he used weasel words to try to attach himself to Ivy status and prestige.Insecurity??

“You’re a joke. Claudine Gay plagiarized the acknowledgements from one of your papers and now, out of some bizarre desire for revenge, you’re trashing your own university’s continuing education school,” Rufo wrote in response. “Have a Metamucil and delete your account.”

Others, such as conservative documentarian Dinesh D’Souza noted that Hochschild’s criticism of Rufo only makes her own university look bad.

Atlantic writer Conor Friedersdorf made a similar point. “Shouldn’t you be asking about Harvard’s integrity here as they are the ones selling the degrees knowing that a large part of their value comes from the brand name attached to them?” he wrote on X.

The New Republic also leveled this criticism nearly a year ago a piece about Rufo but reshared the article on Jan. 4.

But Rufo has addressed this and has pointed out he does have a master’s degree from Harvard, as described by the university itself.

He wrote on Jan. 4:

At root, what’s happening is that the people who populate the left-wing managerial class live for status and prestige. Their credentials are their whole world. They are the kind of people who ask “where did you go to college” at parties, well into middle age. They always manage to name-drop this person or that school, sizing up how useful you might be to them.

I have never been that way. I find it soulless and dishonorable. As my classmates from Georgetown went into finance, consulting, and graduate programs, I became a documentary filmmaker and traveled the world. Now I live in a small town in Washington State, amongst teachers, nurses, firefighters, tradesmen, soldiers, and homemakers. Not a single person in my immediate social circle works in journalism, academia, or the intellectual professions, which is welcome, as I get to live a normal life and my value does not depend on the whims of the left-wing press.

“By contrast, the highly-credentialed people who work at places like The New Republic make fast-food wages and console themselves with status games,” he wrote. “They cannot cope with the fact that an extension school graduate toppled the president of Harvard.”

Rufo also recently announced he would be donating $10,000 to hunt for plagiarism.

MORE: Billionaire CEO announces MIT plagiarism probe

IMAGES: Jennifer Hochschild/X; Christopher Rufo/X

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Matt has previously worked at Students for Life of America, Students for Life Action and Turning Point USA. While in college, he wrote for The College Fix as well as his college newspaper, The Loyola Phoenix. He holds a B.A. from Loyola University-Chicago and an M.A. from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He lives in northwest Indiana with his family.