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Congress Widens Investigation into Harvard to Include Plagiarism Allegations Against President Claudine Gay

Claudine Gay testified before Congress on antisemitism on college campuses on Dec. 5.
Claudine Gay testified before Congress on antisemitism on college campuses on Dec. 5. By Miles J. Herszenhorn
By Emma H. Haidar and Cam E. Kettles, Crimson Staff Writers

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce expanded the scope of its congressional investigation into Harvard to include allegations of plagiarism against University President Claudine Gay, the committee wrote in a letter to the Harvard Corporation Wednesday.

The letter, signed by committee chairwoman Rep. Virginia A. Foxx (R-N.C.) and sent to Penny S. Pritzker ’81, senior fellow of the Harvard Corporation — the University’s highest governing body — alleged the University applies a lower standard of academic integrity to administrators than students.

“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,” Foxx wrote in the letter.

University spokesperson Jonathan L. Swain declined to comment on the investigation.

The committee initially opened a probe into antisemitism at Harvard on Dec. 7 following Gay’s testimony before the committee two days earlier. In an interview with The Crimson the same day, Gay said the University would “comply with whatever information is called for.”

Foxx requested Harvard produce “all documents and communications” related to the plagiarism allegations or related to the review by members of the Corporation.

The committee also warned that Harvard could lose federal funding if it is found to not have taken the claims of widespread plagiarism against Gay seriously.

“As you know, federal funding to Harvard is conditioned upon the school’s adherence to the standards of a recognized accreditor,” the letter stated. “The Committee expects an NECHE-accredited institution to ‘subscribe to and advocate [for] high ethical standards.”

In the last week, Gay has also faced additional allegations of plagiarism in her academic work. Gay requested corrections to two articles published in 2001 and 2017, a University spokesperson announced on Friday.

In a Dec. 12 statement to affiliates supporting Gay’s presidency, the Harvard Corporation acknowledged that their review found “instances of inadequate citation” but said they did not rise to the levels of research misconduct.

Still, the Washington Free Beacon reported additional accusations of plagiarism against Gay on Tuesday, including instances of allegedly lifting text from other sources that were unaddressed by her corrections.

—Staff writer Emma H. Haidar can be reached at emma.haidar@thecrimson.com. Follow her on X @HaidarEmma.

—Staff writer Cam E. Kettles can be reached at cam.kettles@thecrimson.com. Follow her on X @cam_kettles or on Threads @camkettles.

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