House Escalates Harvard Probe To Examine Plagiarism Claims
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 05: Dr. Claudine Gay, President of Harvard University, testifies before the House Education and Workforce Committee at the Rayburn House Office Building on December 05, 2023 in Washington, DC. The Committee held a hearing to investigate antisemitism on college campuses. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

The GOP-led House widened an investigation into Harvard University with a new line of inquiry regarding plagiarism allegations levied at the school’s president, Claudine Gay, dating back to the 1990s when she was a student.

Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC), who just weeks ago announced a probe into Harvard and other prestigious universities over concerns about “rampant anti-Semitism displayed on their campuses,” sent a letter on Wednesday requesting information on how the Ivy League has responded to the “credible” plagiarism claims reported by the Manhattan Institute’s Christopher Rufo and journalist Chris Brunet, the Washington Free Beacon, and others.

“An allegation of plagiarism by a top school official at any university would be reason for concern, but Harvard is not just any university. It styles itself as one of the top educational institutions in the country,” Foxx wrote in the letter addressed to Harvard Corporation Senior Fellow Penny Pritzker.

Foxx mentioned the Harvard College Honor Code, which stresses academic integrity while denouncing plagiarism, and questioned whether the university is holding its faculty and leadership to the same standards. The chairwoman also noted how federal funding to Harvard University is “conditioned upon the school’s adherence to the standards of a recognized accreditor,” which in this case is the New England Commission of Higher Education.

“Our concern is that standards are not being applied consistently, resulting in different rules for different members of the academic community,” Foxx added. “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.”

The Harvard Crimson reported last week that Gay submitted corrections to articles after the Ivy League’s top governing body, the Harvard Corporation, claimed that it became aware of plagiarism allegations in late October (around when the New York Post says it contacted Harvard with questions about Gay’s academic work), opened an “independent review,” and “found no violation of Harvard’s standards for research misconduct.” But a CNN review published on Wednesday found that the corrections fail to remedy other instances of alleged plagiarism, including when she was vying for her Ph.D. at Harvard in the 1990s.

In her letter, Foxx demanded a variety of records, including documents concerning the “independent review,” disciplinary action taken against faculty or students for plagiarism, and communications between Harvard and its regional accreditor about its “academic dishonesty standard.”

The Daily Wire reached out to Harvard seeking comment on the plagiarism allegations and the new letter from Foxx. Gay has already released a statement on the matter, declaring, “I stand by the integrity of my scholarship. Throughout my career, I have worked to ensure my scholarship adheres to the highest academic standards.”

The plagiarism controversy took off as Gay faced blowback for her testimony during a congressional hearing in early December. She told lawmakers that “context” dictated whether calling for the genocide of Jews on campuses violated her school’s policies on bullying and harassment. Her testimony, along with that of the presidents of MIT and the University of Pennsylvania, prompted Foxx to open an investigation into “the learning environments at Harvard, UPenn, and MIT and their policies and disciplinary procedures” as well as a House resolution condemning their comments. UPenn’s president, Elizabeth Magill, has resigned under pressure.

Gay released a statement on her testimony, posted to X by Harvard, that said: “There are some who have confused a right to free expression with the idea that Harvard will condone calls for violence against Jewish students. Let me be clear: Calls for violence or genocide against the Jewish community, or any religious or ethnic group are vile, they have no place at Harvard, and those who threaten our Jewish students will be held to account.”

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