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Liberal Atlantic mag rips Harvard for not holding president accountable on plagiarism: ‘Betrayed’ its values

Far left outlet The Atlantic ripped Harvard University for not doing enough to hold its president Claudine Gay responsible for her recent scandals, particularly her plagiarism scandal.

The Atlantic’s contributing writer Eliot Cohen, who received his Ph.D. from Harvard and was a former administrator there, blasted the school’s board in a Friday article, claiming that it should be in a “tougher spot” for not holding Gay accountable for plagiarism.

He declared that Gay’s alleged behavior, which he argued was “indisputable,” is “disqualifying” for her leadership role and that she needs to leave her office. 

HARVARD BOARD STANDS BY EMBATTLED PRESIDENT CLAUDINE GAY, ADMITS ‘INADEQUATE CITATION’ IN SOME WRITINGS

Harvard has been grappling with an avalanche of accusations that Gay plagiarized multiple past academic works, including her own Ph.D. dissertations at the university. The school president had already been under fire after dodging questions on antisemitism on college campuses during a House hearing on the issue by the Education and Workforce Committee.

In the piece, Cohen noted how when he was hired as an assistant professor Harvard, after he was a Ph.D. student, “Harvard then took plagiarism seriously – and in one way still does, disciplining dozens of students every year for this gravest of academic sins.”

He described how students found guilty of the transgression – “those who had lifted someone else’s language without quotation marks or citation – were bounced from the college for a year, during which time they were required to work at a nonacademic job.”

“They would be readmitted after submitting a statement that examined their original misdeed and reflected on it,” he added. He noted how students who committed lesser violations, dubbed “misuse of sources,” could expect to receive “a year’s probation and suspension from participation in extracurricular activities.”

Cohen went on to describe Harvard’s method for dealing with plagiarists as a “very good system,” which “rested on the notion that even a disciplinary process should be educational.”

Then came his condemnation for Gay and the school by extension, noting that the president’s plagiarism and her faculty not holding her accountable has destroyed the credibility the school once had. 

NAACP LEADER DEFENDS HARVARD PRESIDENT CLAUDINE GAY, SAYS CRITICS ARE ‘ADVANCING A WHITE SUPREMACIST AGENDA’

Alluding to her scandals, he began, “A leader must begin with a deeply rooted sense of responsibility; from there one moves to accountability, the ability to own one’s organization’s failings. For example, if Jewish students are being harassed and threatened on the university campus where one is president, it means saying, ‘I own this. I will fix it,’ in simple and unqualified terms.”

He then zeroed in on her plagiarism, writing, “It is undisputed that Claudine Gay used other scholars’ language, often with the slightest modification or none, and occasionally without even a footnote acknowledgment.” 

Cohen added, “I have looked at the evidence presented in various places, none of which has been controverted, and it is clear to me that this is plagiarism.”

Arguing for her to be booted from her job, he declared, “Even if, in the most tolerant and sympathetic of readings, this and similar copying merely constitute ‘misuse of sources,’ it is disqualifying for a position of leadership at any university. Her failure to accept responsibility in stark and unqualified terms makes matters worse.”

Cohen then mentioned how hypocritical the school looks in this situation, saying, “I have no idea how as a teacher at Harvard today I could look an undergraduate in the eye and hold forth about why plagiarism is a violation of the values inherent in the academic enterprise. They would laugh, openly or secretly, at the corruption and double standards.”

The author concluded, “President Gay is in a tough spot. The Harvard Corporation deserves to be in a much tougher spot, because it has betrayed the values that the university once cherished and that it still proclaims.”

Fox News Digital’s Elizabeth Elkind contributed to this report.

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