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Higher Education

Harvard's president looked like she was in the clear — but there are new concerns about attribution in her work

user avatar Author: Editors Desk Source: Business Insider:::
December 21, 2023 at 14:58
Harvard president Claudine Gay (L) is facing new concerns over attribution in her work. Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images
Harvard president Claudine Gay (L) is facing new concerns over attribution in her work. Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Harvard President Claudine Gay faced earlier allegations of plagiarism.

Harvard University President Claudine Gay is facing fresh concerns over attribution in some of her past academic work.

The university said on Wednesday that it had discovered two more occurrences of "duplicative language without appropriate attribution" and said Gay would update her work to address it, according to a report from The New York Times.

A spokesperson from Harvard did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday the US House Education Committee also said it was increasing the scope of its investigation into Gay's work to look at allegations of plagiarism.

"Our concern is that standards are not being applied consistently, resulting in different rules for different members of the academic community," Rep. Virginia Foxx, Republican of North Carolina, wrote in a letter to the board that oversees Harvard. "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."

The Times report came after Harvard had already said earlier this month that it had found other articles Gay had written that included "instances of inadequate citation." It had said she would update the writing to correct the issue.

The school had begun an investigation into Gay's writing after the The Washington Free Beacon published a story pointing out what it said were examples from the Harvard president's work that were similar to other academic writings. Harvard said last week that its review had not found that Gay had executed "intentional deception or recklessness."

The new disclosure by Harvard that it found more instances of "duplicative language" will likely only underline a tense time for the Harvard president and the university's governing board.

Already, that governing board, called the Harvard Corporation, had voted on whether Gay would remain as president amid backlash over her testimony at a Congressional hearing earlier this month where Gay appeared hesitant to denounce calls for violence against the Jewish population.

On December 12, Harvard announced Gay would remain in her role as president and reaffirmed its support for her leadership.

Now, the university faces the review of its handling of the allegations of plagiarism by the House committee. In her letter to Harvard's board, Foxx warned that federal funding is tied to staying in good standing with a body that accredits universities — and that body requires adherence to rules that prevent plagiarism and cheating.

While Gay has been able to maintain her post amid the controversy, the University of Pennsylvania's now-former president, Elizabeth Magill, resigned earlier in December, following criticism from alumni and donors over her response to the antisemitic controversy on campus.

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