A former university president said he was “shocked” by the House of Representatives probe into Harvard University President Claudine Gay and suggested the congressional investigation into a private institution was an overstep by conservative legislators.
During an appearance on “The Lead with Jake Tapper” on CNN, former Brandeis University President and Georgetown Law Center distinguished lecturer Frederick Lawrence was asked about the recent controversy surrounding Gay.
On Dec. 12, scholars alleged that Gay “definitely” plagiarized almost 20 authors in four of her 11 peer-reviewed academic papers, including her doctoral dissertation.
Following the accusations, The House Committee on Education and the Workforce on Wednesday launched its inquiry against Harvard University’s handling of antisemitism on campus to include its embattled president.
Lawrence told Tapper that he found the investigation “particularly disturbing” and claimed Harvard’s internal issues were not the “province” of a congressional committee.
“This is a private university. I am shocked that those who call themselves conservatives and believe in small government would take this as the opportunity to force a national investigation and a national standard on private institutions,” he said. “That is not how we do business in this country.”
The chair of the Committee on Education and the Workforce, Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., on Wednesday sent a four-page letter to Penny Pritzker, the head of the school’s governing board, alleging that Harvard applies a different standard of academic integrity to faculty members than to students.
The letter said that the committee’s “concern” is that if plagiarism standards are not “applied consistently,” then it “cheapens” the university’s academic credibility.
The Committee on Education and the Workforce did not return Fox News Digital’s request for comment.
The Washington Free Beacon analyzed 29 potential instances of plagiarism in Gay’s work that appeared to be lifted from almost a dozen scholars.
In at least 10 instances, Gay used complete sentences and paragraphs from sources with minor changes to only a few words, the report states.
The Harvard Corporation, the university’s highest governing body, released a summary of a review Wednesday evening saying Gay will request three corrections from Harvard’s Office of the Provost regarding her 1997 Ph.D. dissertation, The Harvard Crimson reported.
Through additional review, Harvard said it found two additional instances of “duplicative language without appropriate attribution.”
Fox News’ Sarah Rumpf-Whitten and Danielle Wallace contributed to this report.