The editorial board at Havard University’s student newspaper, the Harvard Crimson, decided to give university president Claudine Gay a bit of a holiday present this weekend. (I’m fairly sure you can’t say “Christmas present” at Harvard these days.) The embattled administrator had already been taking fire and facing calls for her resignation over her antisemitic remarks before Congress and then a mounting pile of evidence that she committed plagiarism multiple times over the course of her career. But the paper’s editorial board stood up for Gay this weekend in an op-ed where a majority of the members concluded that there was no reason for her to resign. And yet they included a caveat saying that it did indeed appear that she was guilty of plagiarism, but she should still keep her position. (NY Post)
Harvard University’s student newspaper cautiously stood by embattled President Claudine Gay — arguing that while she may have plagiarized, it does not warrant her resignation.
The Harvard Crimson’s editorial board conceded in an op-ed Saturday that some of the accusations against Gay “are indeed plagiarism,” but concluded that it appears she lacked the “intent” to steal the work of others.
“To be clear, sloppiness of this kind is unbefitting of a Harvard president,” states the article, representing the “majority view” of the editorial board.
The views expressed by the majority of the board who continue to support Gay are based on their interpretation of how the plagiarism supposedly took place. They went so far as to call the actions “unbefitting of a Harvard president,” but they excused the actions as being “unintentional.” That supposed lack of intent led them to conclude that those actions do not “warrant her resignation.”
That’s certainly a rather unique response to the growing list of charges. There are many bad things in life that can happen purely unintentionally, such as a distracted driver running someone down. But writing and composition are uniquely internalized and deliberative activities. Anyone with the capacity to compose original text has to know whether they sat and pondered what they wanted to say before writing it or they copied the text from another source and pasted it in. Or if they somehow lack the capacity to make such a distinction, they certainly shouldn’t be leading a major university.
The board’s majority was also quick to hurl verbal stones at Gay’s critics yet again. They claimed that the calls for her resignation were “manufactured by conservative activists intent on discrediting higher education.” The one thing they never managed to address was the raging antisemitism that is underlying the growing dearth of donors and new student applications. It’s funny how that worked out, isn’t it?
I kept referring to the “board’s majority” because the conclusion was not unanimous. Two members published their own dissenting opinion the same day, arguing that Gay should indeed resign. The reasons given were largely the same as the ones you’ve been seeing in other outlets.
The timing of this flurry of activity regarding Claudine Gay’s future is curious at best. This is all happening just as Gay has been hit with six fresh charges of plagiarism. (Free Beacon)
Harvard University president Claudine Gay was hit with six additional allegations of plagiarism on Monday in a complaint filed with the university, breathing fresh life into a scandal that has embroiled her nascent presidency and pushing the total number of allegations near 50.
Seven of Gay’s 17 published works have already been impacted by the scandal, but the new charges, which have not been previously reported, extend into an eighth: In a 2001 article, Gay lifts nearly half a page of material verbatim from another scholar, David Canon, a political science professor at the University of Wisconsin.
So the Crimson’s defense of Gay was published on Saturday and not even 48 hours later, another stack of plagiarism claims came to light. Now, out of Gay’s 17 total published works (a small number to begin with for a university president), eight of them have been found to contain plagiarism. That’s almost half. That’s a suspiciously large amount of “unintentional” copying and pasting. The longer this keeps up, the more we are likely to see rats abandoning what appears to be a rapidly sinking ship. And some of those rats are carrying away vast amounts of donor dollars with them.