Here’s Why the Harvard President’s Resignation Letter Set Off the Plagiarism Klaxons Again

As Matt explains nearby, Claudine Gay is officially resigning as Harvard’s president. But now even her resignation letter is sending the plagiarism klaxon to Defcon 1. 

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Gay was pressured to leave the president’s office because someone — many someones — was thoroughly embarrassed by her performance in front of Congress recently. UPenn’s president skedaddled and went quietly right after the testimony. 

Gay’s equally awful performance, in which the Ivy League president couldn’t tell the difference between free speech and threatening genocide against Jews, caused some to wonder if zombies had taken over academia (asked and answered). After that, more questions came. How could someone that clueless be Harvard’s president — their inner voices screamed?

Then they started reading her scholarly writing. Not only did she fail to publish any books about her woke studies, but the thin number of papers she did write was also filled with the stolen ideas and words of others without attribution. That’s called plagiarism, and it used to be grounds for outright dismissal, but for the complete collapse of academic standards at what used to be a premier American university. 

And now her resignation letter was pinning the plagiarometer.

Maybe it was the words “Therefore, I shall resign the Presidency effective at noon tomorrow. [The] Vice President will be sworn in as President at that hour in this office” that set off the plagiarism klaxon. Or it could have been “You won’t have Claudine Gay to kick around anymore, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference.” Perhaps this turn of phrase was the tip-off: “I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors.” 

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Kidding. The first two quotes were Richard Nixon’s and the third was in George Washington’s “Farewell Address.” She wouldn’t have ripped off those people anyway. They expressed way too much humility. Besides, one guy was a colonialist and the other was the guy hounded out of office by a morally bankrupt press and the CIA, which are precisely her kind of people.  

Gay’s resignation letter, however, did come up as plagiarized. I laughed when I saw the claim on Twitter/X. 

We’re all having a good laugh at — must we call her doctor — Gay’s expense, but there’s a reason why her resignation letter is setting off plagiarism alarm bells. This is because her letter is everywhere on the interwebs now. It has been replicated so very many times, contrary to her and others’ scholarly writings she stole, that it appears as if she stole the words of her resignation letter as well. This is likely not true. 

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Here are a couple of thoughts from her letter which I found amusing.

[A]fter consultation with members of the Corporation, it has become clear that it is in the best interests of Harvard for me to resign so that our community can navigate this moment of extraordinary challenge with a focus on the institution rather than any individual.

Harvard isn’t a collegial collection of scholarly brains, it’s a capital c “Corporation.” She depicted herself as a victim and said — and this is the biggest laugh line yet—

“As I now return to the faculty, and to the scholarship and teaching that are the lifeblood of what we do, I pledge to continue working alongside you to build the community we all deserve.”

That’s right, the plagiarist is going back to work in the classroom. 

Gay pretends that the pressure to quit has nothing to do with her moral bankruptcy, her lack of scholarship, and her freely plagiarizing other peoples’ work in what few papers she wrote. 

What was the question again? Oh yes, How could someone that clueless remain at Harvard?

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