January 8, 2024

Claudine Gay

Harvard President Claudine Gay said she would resign from her position [last] Tuesday, ending a six-month tenure marred by allegations of plagiarism and backlash over her congressional testimony about antisemitism on campus…

“Despite the controversy ensnaring Gay, the Harvard Corporation last month reaffirmed its confidence that she could lead the school through a period of high tension over the war in the Middle East. It also said an independent review of Gay's academic work found she had not committed research misconduct. She has submitted several corrections for citation errors in recent weeks…

“Gay, the first Black president in Harvard's 388-year history, and the members of the Harvard Corporation said in their letters to the community on Tuesday that she had been subject to racist attacks. Some of Gay's critics, including billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman, have argued that she was chosen for the role as part of the school's effort to promote diversity rather than for her qualifications. Right-wing activists, including journalist and researcher Christopher Rufo, celebrated Gay's resignation on Tuesday as a win in their mission to dismantle diversity, equity and inclusion programs.” Reuters

Here’s our previous coverage of Gay’s comments to Congress. The Flip Side

See past issues

From the Right

The right argues that Gay’s resignation was merited based on her documented academic misconduct.

From the Left

The left is divided about Gay’s resignation.

The left is divided about Gay’s resignation.

A libertarian's take

“Gay’s supporters seem to have become so focused on denying her conservative critics a victory, so intent on proving that outsiders can’t boss them around, they failed to count the institutional and reputational costs of making that point… Suddenly, people who make their living writing articles and books were struggling with the basic definition of a common English word. Was copying someone else’s words plagiarism, or was it just ‘citation errors,’ ‘occasional sloppiness,’ or ‘duplicative language without appropriate attribution’? After all, Gay hadn’t stolen ideas — just whole paragraphs of someone else’s writing…

“A bad thing does not become less bad because Christopher Rufo, the conservative activist who surfaced the first allegations against Gay, has pointed it out. Nor can Rufo be thwarted by pretending the bad things aren’t real. The would-be warriors trying to fend off Rufo instead provided evidence for his core critique: that academia now cares more about progressive politics than about scholarly rigor. In the process, they handed him a victory greater than it would have been if they’d simply said, ‘That’s plagiarism, and we don’t do that here.’”
Megan McArdle, Washington Post

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