‘Very Basic’ Error Invalidates Core Finding Of Former Harvard President’s PhD Thesis, Data Scientist Says

(Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

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Brandon Poulter Contributor
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Former Harvard President Claudine Gay’s thesis contains a “very basic” error that could invalidate the entire paper, a data scientist told conservative activist Christopher Rufo.

Gay resigned as president of Harvard on Tuesday after another round of plagiarism allegations. Jonatan Pallesen, a Danish data scientist, is now accusing her of failing to test “alternative hypotheses” that may have disproved her conclusion. (RELATED: Liberal Media Rushes To Defend Ousted Harvard President, Paints Plagiarism As Right-Wing ‘Weapon’)

“The thesis and the paper claim to find that the election of black representatives causes a reduced white voter turnout. But what they show is only a correlation, not a causal relationship,” Pallesen told Rufo.

“This is very basic. For many people who work with data, such considerations about possible alternative hypotheses are the first thing we think about. But for some reason, it was not considered in the paper, which means that the conclusion it makes about causality is invalid,” Pallesen continued.

WASHINGTON, DC – DECEMBER 05: (L-R) Dr. Claudine Gay, President of Harvard University, Liz Magill, President of University of Pennsylvania, and Dr. Sally Kornbluth, President of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, testify before the House Education and Workforce Committee at the Rayburn House Office Building on December 05, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Gay came under scrutiny after comments she made at a congressional hearing on Dec. 5 after she, University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill and Massachusetts Institute of Technology President Sally Kornbluth refused to say if calling for genocide constituted violations of the universities’ codes of conduct. The House Committee on Education and the Workforce later opened an investigation into the universities’ “learning environments, policies, and disciplinary procedures.”

“Some scientists have wondered why she didn’t just write her own dry science prose. One possibility is that she may not fully comprehend the scientific nuances in the topics she’s writing about. In such cases, there might be a greater temptation to plagiarize, to ensure the avoidance of inaccuracies,” Pallesen told Rufo.

Gay cited racism in an op-ed for The New York Times explaining her resignation. She also said that she “promptly” issued corrections to her articles, but the Harvard Corporation said in December that they were aware of the allegations in October.

Gay did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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