Claudine Gay Approved Watered-Down Plagiarism Policy That Would Later Be Used To Defend Her

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Former Harvard President Claudine Gay approved a weakened version of the faculty plagiarism policy as dean of the university’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences that was later used in defense of her alleged plagiarism, according to the Washington Free Beacon.

Gay resigned on Jan. 2 following several rounds of plagiarism allegations and after already submitting multiple corrections to her academic works. Gay approved a “research misconduct” policy in 2019 that excluded accidental violations and would later be cited in her defense by the highest governing board of the university, the Harvard Corporation, according to the Free Beacon. (RELATED: ‘Very Basic’ Error Invalidates Core Finding Of Former Harvard President’s PhD Thesis, Data Scientist Says)

The policy repeatedly says that a finding of “research misconduct” must be found to have been committed “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly,” according to the policy approved by Gay in September 2019. The Harvard Corporation said in Dec. 12 a statement they found “no violation of research misconduct.”

WASHINGTON, DC – DECEMBER 05: Dr. Claudine Gay, President of Harvard University, testifies 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)

An August 2019 version of the plagiarism policy does not include allowances for unintentional violations, according to an archived version of the webpage.

“Plagiarism is the appropriation of another person’s ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit,” the old policy reads.

Multiple outlets lobbed plagiarism allegations at Gay following her appearance before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, where she, University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) President Liz Magill and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) President Sally Kornbluth refused to say if calling for the genocide of Jews violated the schools’ policies for student conduct.

The committee opened an investigation into Harvard, UPenn, and MIT following the hearing and expanded its scope on Dec. 20 to include the allegations of plagiarism against Gay. Despite Gay and Magill resigning, the committee said the investigation would continue Jan. 2.

Harvard often disciplines students for academic integrity violations, and an average of about 18 students per year were forced to leave the school between the 2015-2016 school year and 2020-2021 school year as a result. Many of those academic integrity violations are for plagiarism.

“When students omit quotation marks and citations, as President Gay did, the sanction is usually one term of probation—a permanent mark on a student’s record,” a student member of Harvard’s honor council wrote in an op-ed for The Harvard Crimson.

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

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