New plagiarism charges against Harvard president prove too much for even Jake Tapper

New plagiarism allegations have surfaced against Harvard University President Claudine Gay and even CNN’s Jake Tapper questioned the apparent double standards at the Ivy League institution.

“Is Harvard University really holding its president, Dr. Claudine Gay to the same standards when it comes to plagiarism that they would assail for students committing the same offense?” Tapper asked on “The Lead” Wednesday.

Harvard came to Gay’s defense and refused calls to fire her after her disastrous testimony before Congress earlier this month when she refused to condemn antisemitism as harassment on campus. The headline-making remarks sparked scrutiny of Gay’s scholarly work and accusations of plagiarism, which she strongly denied.

Following an investigation, Harvard noted that there were “a few instances of inadequate citation,” but they “found no violation of Harvard’s standards for research misconduct,” and that Gay “is proactively requesting four corrections in two articles.”

But new allegations about work Gay submitted in the 1990s sparked renewed outrage and scrutiny as Tapper addressed the glaring hypocrisy with reporter Matt Egan.

“Gay submitted corrections to two papers that she wrote as a professional academic in 2001 and 2017,” Egan said. “However, there are clear examples of plagiarism that occurred in the 1990s when Gay was studying for her Ph.D. at Harvard.”

“In one example, Gay’s 1997 dissertation, she lifted one paragraph almost verbatim from another source without citation, and that appears to go against Harvard’s current guide on plagiarism…Harvard’s plagiarism policy says that students who submit work without clear attribution to sources will be, quote, ‘subject to disciplinary action up to and including requirement to withdraw from the college,'” Egan explained.

He noted another occurrence in a 1993 essay, telling Tapper, “These instances of plagiarism were first reported by The Washington Free Beacon and CNN’s analysis confirmed some of the main allegations in that reporting.”

Egan detailed the criticisms being directed at the university.

“One is the lightning-fast speed that Harvard pulled off this independent review. These types of plagiarism reviews, they can take anywhere from six months to two years, and this one wasn’t even two months. Another criticism is that there’s a double standard; one set of rules for the students and another for the president of the university,” he said.

Tapper wrapped up by pointing out again the clear double standard dilemma.

“The big question, I think, in the future is, how will Harvard be able to punish any students found guilty of the same offense without inviting a lawsuit,” he said.

“Because if she gets away with something that students can’t then get away with, that could be messy, legally, for the school, which I’m sure Harvard’s lawyers have thought about way before I just said that,” Tapper added.

Frieda Powers

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