Harvard officials failed to conduct a review of ousted President Claudine Gay’s plagiarized academic papers before hiring her, an explosive report claims.
Gay, 54, was chosen to lead the prestigious university because of her administrative experience, beating out two other candidates with much broader academic credentials, according to the crimson harvard.
While Gay’s career as a political scientist and administrator earned her praise, she had few published works under her belt, which raised eyebrows when Harvard chose her over Tomiko Brown-Nagin and John F. Manning in July 2023.
Brown-Nagin, dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies, has received the highest award for writing American history in the US and is known as one of the country’s top jurists.
The same is said of Manning, who heads Harvard Law School after a career in which he argued nine cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and published more than 40 legal articles.
Claudine Gay, 54, resigned in January amid accusations of plagiarism and backlash to her disastrous congressional hearing, where she failed to declare that calling for the genocide of Jews was a violation of Harvard’s code of conduct.
Harvard’s vetting process is facing scrutiny as Gay was selected for her administrative experience, overlooking other candidates with better academic credentials, including legal expert Tomiko Brown-Nagin.
John F. Manning (pictured), dean of Harvard Law School, was also in the running before Harvard elected Gay as its new president.
The report comes just over a month after Gay dramatically resigned as Harvard president in January, just six months into her tenure as the first Black person to lead the university.
She resigned after intense scrutiny over her previous work, where she was accused of plagiarizing or failing to properly cite certain aspects of two published articles and her doctoral thesis.
The accusations were supported by billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman, who shared his outrage over Gay’s disastrous testimony before Congress in December about anti-Semitism on his campus.
He provoked a backlash by failing to declare that calling for the genocide of Jews was a violation of Harvard’s code of conduct.
Gay subsequently resigned amid outrage over the two issues, and allegations of plagiarism raised questions about how the scandal went unnoticed before his appointment.
The answer, according to Crimson, arises from the lack of academic review of his work by Penny S. Pritzker, a senior fellow at the Harvard Corporation, and the presidential search committee.
The outlet cited a person familiar with the investigation process as saying the committee decided a comprehensive review was not necessary because of Gay’s experience as a successful administrator within the university.
She had served as dean of the Social Sciences department for three years and dean of the FAS for five years.
Harvard did not immediately respond to a request for comment when contacted by DailyMail.com.
The search committee faces scrutiny for its selection process for Gay; The search for a new president now reportedly includes Barack Obama.
Dr. Alan Garber, chancellor of Harvard, has taken over as an actor and is currently the bookmakers’ favorite to take on the role full-time.
Gay’s selection as the 30th president also lasted only five months, the shortest time taken by Harvard’s presidential search committee in nearly 70 years.
Harvard Chancellor Dr. Alan Garber has taken over in an acting capacity and is currently the bookies’ favorite to take on the role full-time, with other names floating around as Harvard’s next president, including former student Barack Obama.
It is unclear when the university will make its decision, as the vetting process that ultimately landed on Gay reportedly first included around 600 nominations.
The shortlist was then whittled down to 50 names, until Gay was among the 12 finalists who made it to an interview.
A person familiar with the process also said the search committee intended to prioritize the academic credentials of its next president when the search began in 2022.
However, after Gay was selected in December 2022, six months before she took office, priorities seemed to have changed when former Princeton University President Shirley M. Tilghman, who was part of the process, said that administrative experience was key.
She told the Crimson at the time: “It’s too complicated a job for someone who has never had to deal with something as complicated as the College of Arts and Sciences.
“So that eliminated some of the candidates who might have been extraordinary scholars, but didn’t really have the kind of deep experience.”
Harvard Corporation senior fellow Penny S. Pritzker (pictured) and the presidential search committee are under fire for the process used to select Gay
A whistleblower who has served on several university presidential search committees also stated that Harvard does not tend to conduct plagiarism checks on candidates, something other universities do.
The move spelled Gay’s undoing, as the search committee launched an independent review process only after the first accusations of plagiarism were made against Gay.
The review found that there were several instances of “duplicate language” in his works, particularly the lack of proper citations to other academic writings.
In response to Gay’s public resignation, Harvard alumni formed a new group, Black Alumnae of Harvard Equity Initiative (BAHEI), to demand that the university endorse its first Black president.
The group wrote a petition to the board this month, calling for DEI to be enshrined in nearly every aspect of the university, including faculty hiring and student admissions.
The demands include ensuring that “the narrative surrounding Dr. Gay’s resignation from the presidency is based on truth” and the creation of a “DEI task force” on campus.