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The academic who Harvard's Pres plagiarized speaks!

Carol Swain a well-respected highly published academic had her work stolen by Claudine. She doesn't share Harvard's belief that it was an insignificant oversight.


Not sure I can find the proper words to convey my contempt for this woman.


Claudine Gay and My Scholarship

She failed to credit me for sections of my book, ‘Black Faces, Black Interests.’

By Carol M. Swain, WSJ

Dec. 17, 2023 4:08 pm ET



Claudine Gay, president of Harvard University, testifies before the House Education and the Workforce Committee in Washington, Dec. 5.


Harvard’s governing fellows last week decided to stand behind President Claudine Gay despite her disastrous congressional testimony and multiple allegations of plagiarism. In a statement, they dismissed the latter as “a few instances of inadequate citation” that constituted “no violation of Harvard’s standards for research misconduct.”


I write as one of the scholars whose work Ms. Gay plagiarized. She failed to credit me for sections from my 1993 book, “Black Faces, Black Interests: The Representation of African Americans in Congress” and an article I published in 1997, “Women and Blacks in Congress: 1870-1996.” The damage to me extends beyond the two instances of plagiarism identified by researchers Christopher Rufo and Christopher Brunet.

“Black Faces, Black Interests” received numerous accolades and recognitions. In 1994 it was selected one of Library Choice Journal’s seven outstanding academic books and won the Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award and the V.O. Key Award for political science. It won the D.B. Hardeman Prize for its scholarship on Congress in 1995. My book has been cited in court opinions, including by U.S. Supreme Court justices in Johnson v. De Grandy (1994) and Georgia v. Ashcroft (2003).


Ms. Gay’s damage to me is aggravated because her early work was in the area where my research is considered seminal. Her scholarship on black congressional representation, electoral districting and descriptive representation builds on terrain where I plowed the ground.


When one follows in the footsteps of a more senior scholar, one is expected to acknowledge the latter’s contribution to the field and how one’s own research and ideas refute, affirm or expand knowledge in the area. Ms. Gay ignored the substantive importance of my research, which she should have acknowledged and engaged. A single citation or two wouldn’t usually be considered intellectually honest.


When scholars aren’t cited adequately or their work is ignored, it harms them because academic stature is determined by how often other researchers cite your work. Ms. Gay had no problem riding on the coattails of people whose work she used without proper attribution. Many of those whose work she pilfered aren’t as incensed as I am. They are elites who have benefited from a system that protects its own.


Even aside from the documented instances of plagiarism, Ms. Gay’s work wouldn’t normally have earned tenure in the Ivy League. Tenure at a top-tier institution normally demands ground-breaking originality; her work displays none. In a world where the privilege of diversity is king, Ms. Gay was able to parlay mediocre research into tenure and administrative advancement at what was once considered a world-class university.


Harvard can’t condemn Ms. Gay because she is the product of an elite system that holds minorities of high pedigree to a lower standard. This harms academia as a whole, and it demeans Americans, of all races, who had to work for everything they earned.


Ms. Swain is a senior fellow at the Institute for Faith and Culture and a co-author of “The Adversity of Diversity: How the Supreme Court’s Decision to Remove Race from College Admissions Criteria will Doom Diversity Programs.”

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