Harvard University has defended its investigation into plagiarism allegations that played a role in the ouster of former President Claudine Gay.
On Friday, the university submitted an eight-page report and other documents to the House Education and Workforce Committee outlining its response to the saga.
The report revealed new details about how the allegations were handled and investigated internally after activists and media began scrutinizing Gay's academic work on political science.
The Harvard Corporation, the school's governing body, first convened an independent panel on Oct. 24 to review 25 allegations of plagiarism made by a New York Post reporter.
On the panel's recommendation, the committee then initiated a broader review of all of Gay's scientific papers and concluded that two of her articles required corrections.
Harvard University has released more details of its investigation into allegations of plagiarism that played a role in the ouster of former President Claudine Gay
The report said the first independent panel was appointed on November 3 and was composed of “three of the country’s most prominent political scientists.”
The panel members are not named in keeping with the academic tradition of peer review, but Harvard says they include tenured faculty members at major research institutions across the country, fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and two former presidents the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Political Science Association.
The panel examined only the three articles mentioned in the New York Post's initial report on the allegations.
The Harvard report said the panel found that there was “no doubt” that the articles “are both sophisticated and original” and that there was “virtually no evidence to support the intentional assertion of findings other than those of the President Gay origins”.
The panel concluded that certain allegations were “trivial” and involved “commonly used language” or “sentence fragments.”
However, in nine cases, the panel found claims that were “of the utmost importance” that “paraphrased or reproduced the language of others without quotation marks and without sufficient and clear attribution,” which failed.[o]n opportunity,” “to provide citations in accordance with the highest established scholarly practice.”
It also noted that in relation to an allegation of “fragments of duplicate language and paraphrasing” could be interpreted as Gay claiming another researcher's results as her own, although it was not clear that this was her intention.
The panel ultimately recommended a more comprehensive review of all of Gay's academic work.
Penny Pritzker, a senior fellow at Harvard University, led the board's response to the scandal
This review was conducted by a subcommittee of certain Harvard Corporation employees to guide the broader review, with the assistance of attorneys.
They were Mariano-Florentino (Tino) Cuéllar, Biddy Martin, Shirley M. Tilghman and Theodore V. Wells, Jr.
“The subcommittee concluded that while many of the allegations were unfounded, there were cases that did not adhere to the College Guide,” Harvard’s report said. “The subcommittee found that two articles required corrections.”
The subcommittee concluded that some of the allegations made by the panel did not require correction, but a study that was not reviewed by the panel did.
“Although corrections were necessary, the subcommittee found that then-President Gay’s conduct was neither reckless nor intentional and therefore did not constitute research misconduct under the FAS Research Misconduct Policy,” Harvard’s report said.
Gay submitted corrections to the two articles on December 14. However, criticism of the scandal continued and she resigned effective January 2nd.
On Friday, the university submitted an eight-page report and other documents to the House Education and Workforce Committee outlining its response to the saga
Harvard separately announced task forces to combat anti-Semitism and Islamophobia on Friday after struggling to manage the campus's response to the Israel-Gaza war.
“Reports of anti-Semitic and Islamophobic acts on our campus have increased and the sense of belonging to these groups has been eroded,” Harvard Interim President Alan Garber said in a letter to the school community.
“We need to understand why and how this happens – and what more we can do to prevent it.”
The individual task forces follow the resignation of Harvard President Claudine Gay, who faced backlash over her testimony before Congress on anti-Semitism and plagiarism allegations.
Some Jewish students filed a lawsuit against Harvard this month, accusing the school of becoming “a bastion of rampant anti-Jewish hatred and harassment.”
Arab and Muslim students across the country have also said they feel like they are being punished for their political views on the war.