Harvard University President Accused of Plagiarizing Ph.D. Thesis with Material Written by Dr. Carol Swain

In response to purported documents that writer and political activist Christopher Rufo received, Dr. Carol M. Swain has addressed allegations that Harvard University President Claudine Gay plagiarized “multiple sections” of her 1997 Ph.D. thesis.

Through a thread that was uploaded on X on Sunday afternoon, Rufo showed images of Gay’s 1997 thesis alongside the content that Rufo claims she utilized without permission.

By citing works by academic Swain, Lawrence Bobo and Franklin Gilliam, Richard Shingles, Susan Howell, and Deborah Fagan, among others, Rufo charges Gay of copying her thesis.

Rufo urged Gay to step down, claiming that her plagiarism violates Harvard policy.

The university’s policies, which stipulate that one “must give credit to the author of the source material, either by placing the source material in quotation marks and providing a clear citation, or by paraphrasing the source material and providing a clear citation”—neither of which Gay followed—are clearly broken by Gay’s use of Swain’s work, according to Rufo’s post on X.
“I graduated from Harvard’s night school with a master’s degree, but it’s not nearly as prestigious as the graduate program. If I had broken any of these rules, I would have been expelled. I urge Claudine Gay to step down from her role immediately as an alumna,” Rufo continued.

The following is Harvard’s policy regarding collaboration and plagiarism:
All projects, papers, exams, lab reports, theses, homework assignments, and other material turned in for credit are supposed to be the student’s original work.

For whatever reason, students who turn in work that is not their own or does not clearly credit its sources will face disciplinary action, which may include being asked to leave the college. If a student is found to have violated any of these requirements, they will not be allowed to turn in a course evaluation for the relevant course.

In reply to Rufo’s discussion on Gay’s thesis, Swain wrote on X, saying, “I recently came across @realchrisrufo’s critique of #ClaudineGay’s work and the claims of copying. I haven’t read the aforementioned books or articles. But two things spring to mind: first, according to popular belief, imitation is the best form of flattery; and second, Dr. Gay’s committee, reviewers, and colleagues ought to have noticed these infractions. I’ll make an announcement once I know more details. As of right moment, it appears like

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