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HomeNewsBoston Globe Calls Out Harvard University for Its Statement on Plagiarism

Boston Globe Calls Out Harvard University for Its Statement on Plagiarism

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Mugshot of Claudine Gay, and Harvard protests in set
Source: New York Post/X

“If Gay didn’t violate any standards of research, why would she need to correct anything?” That was the bold question by the foremost Boston newspaper last week. The Boston Globe did not mince words while calling out the governing board of Harvard University. 

Harvard has consistently been in the news lately. However, last week, it was about the allegations of plagiarism against the university’s president, Claudine Gay. The Boston Globe suggested that it is pardonable for media outlets to raise unfounded suggestions about Gay. However, it is unacceptable for Harvard to send out inconsistent signals about their own.   

The newspaper’s editorial board points out that the press release by Harvard’s governing council is confusing. In the statement, the council seemingly acknowledged instances of plagiarism in the ongoing Gay scandal. However, they did not spell out the word outrightly.

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According to the Harvard Corporation, “a few instances of inadequate citation” were discovered in some of Gay’s publications. However, the university has “found no violation of Harvard’s standards for research misconduct.” Invariably, the university is, by that statement, admitting that Gay is indeed guilty of the plagiarism allegations. However, they affirm their support for the embattled president nonetheless.

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So, the Globe is calling out the double standard of the who-is-whos of Harvard. They accept a private review of Gay’s academic writings as valid. Next, the board acknowledged the plagiarism issues and said it didn’t matter.

However, Claudine Gay has come to declare that she will correct two of her original publications. All these opposing statements by Gay, the Harvard governing board, and the private reviewer are the bone of contention. 

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In their editorial publication, the Globe also points to the vagueness in Harvard’s definition of plagiarism. According to guidelines published on the school website, plagiarism constitutes any adoption of an idea in academic writing without acknowledging the source. The university then proceeded to declare the act, intentional or otherwise, as unacceptable and criminal.

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Strangely, Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences views plagiarism differently. According to the faculty-specific policy on plagiarism, the act only qualifies as such when the academic obviously and intentionally used third-party content without citation.

After pointing out the double standard that applies across Harvard, the Globe said they expect the university to know better. The Globe infers that Harvard is a frontline as far as research and scholarly writing is concerned. So, they should do well to set clear-cut guidelines on essential policies like plagiarism.

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The plagiarism scandal levelled against Gay comes in the wake of her antisemitism testimony before the US Congress. She did not give a direct response when asked if a call for genocide against Jews is in line with the university’s policies. Since then, there has been a downward trend for Gay before the jury of public opinion. This is despite her making an apology the day after the fight against antisemitism testimony before Congress. 

However, despite widespread calls for Gay’s resignation as president of Harvard, the Harvard Corporation continually affirms its support for her leadership.

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